During the summer of 2015 I took an undergrad course titled “Contemplative Writing”. We took trips to places of worship including a ten day hiatus in the Sonoran Desert. We each had our own writing projects to work on and we were to keep a journal for the length of the class.
Apart from the writing, a major aspect of this experience was taking the time to stop and listen. In fact this was stressed as a requirement of the class, some were even told their grade may be impacted due to their inability to hush for more than five seconds.
Those mornings and evenings when I walked alone I had a sad realization about myself and many of my peers;
We have allowed our inner voices to be drowned by the unrelenting stream of media around us.
We have grown comfortable in this stasis. In fact we work daily to stipend any real thought or engagement with the real world. Walking or driving to work? Break out the headphones/aux cord. Home for the evening? Better get Netflix rolling. Trying to wind down and get a good night’s rest? Time to scroll through social media for a few hours.
I could be sitting with notebook in hand and a glimmering surface of possibilities stretched out before me, yet my fingers still instinctively reach for the faithful smart phone.
Kanye West once tweeted, “when you first wake up don’t hop right on your phone or the internet or even speak to anyone even for up to an hour if possible. Just be still and enjoy your own imagination. It’s better than any movie.”
Embrace the silence. Listen to the blood pulsing through your head. Dare to have a thought that wasn’t inspired by a trending hashtag. And when something important happens in your life or you have an idea that excites you, please write it down.