There are two types of elevator people: those who quietly ride that 20 seconds in silence and those who need to start making small talk. Who are you?
We are a society that no longer values silence. I say that is by design.
Keep us preoccupied, minds engrossed in pointless information and we will not have the mental space available to sit with our emotions, apply logic and common sense and make better choices for ourselves.
We have been conditioned to believe that silence = bad.
If I stop talking to you in a conversation, you assume I’m mad or upset.
If the person we are with is quiet, we ask them, “What’s wrong?”
Most people today are unable to sit without something occupying that mental space.
What would happen if we allowed the silence?
We may discover that we can take the energy of that silence and use it to develop our perception.
Welcome that silence and use it as a way to deepen the dialogue between you and another using your awareness.
Here are 5 ways to practice the power of the pause:
The Solo Pause – You can perceive a lot about how you are doing based on how your body feels. So take a moment right now and tune in… are you holding tension anywhere in your body at the moment? Are you aware of any aches or pains right now? How is your posture at the moment? How would you describe how you feel at the moment?
The Mutual Pause – Next time you find yourself sitting wordlessly with someone and about to speak, pause. Ask yourself what is happening and why you are about to speak. Is it necessary? Do you want to chase away awkwardness you feel about the silence? What would happen if you allowed the silence to continue?
The Pause of Plenty – As in, trust you’ve said enough. You just shared something that left you feeling emotionally vulnerable. Or maybe you spoke your mind (finally!) and now you feel you need to back it up with more facts to justify your position (by the way, women are brought up to do this since culturally our opinions are deemed to be less valuable). What’s happening for you at this moment? If you have the urge to quickly follow-up with something else, question why that is.
The Intellectual Pause – If you are not used to doing this it will feel clumsy at first. What it actually does, is it allows you to be thoughtful with what you are about to say rather than rushing ahead and offering something unintentional that may miss the mark. My partner is a master at this. I know that when I see him take this pause, the words he is about to speak have been carefully considered.
The Preventative Pause – For most of us, listening means waiting for our turn to chime in. We attach to what the speaker is saying in relation to how it affects us personally. When we do that our focus is on reacting not responding. Tune in to what they are saying and feel into your body for how it is affecting you. When you do this while listening, you can separate and release your attachment-based feelings to their story and instead focus on responding to them in a way that is helpful rather than harmful.
Silence is like body language. They say that all communication is 80% body language and 20% verbal.
A lot happens in the silence if you’re listening.
It’s only through using your focused attention that you can build your awareness.
If your mind is fixated on the next thing that is going to come out of your or another’s mouth, you are not able to pick up on the subtle nuances of the silence.
Are you missing out on most of the conversation?
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