Solitude is the soul's holiday, an opportunity to stop doing for others and to surprise and delight ourselves instead. When we are hungry, we get the signal right away, and we pay attention. Thirst is sneakier. By the time our bodies send us in search of water, we are already dehydrated. The same holds true in our thirst for solitude.
It's a challenge to let ourselves slow down. As Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul, says, "We seem to have a complex about business in our culture. Most of us do have time in our days that we could devote to simple relaxation, but we convince ourselves that we don't." It seems there is always something that needs doing, always someone who needs our attention. "Unfortunately," Moore says, "we don't get a lot of support in this culture for doing nothing. If we aren't accomplishing something, we feel that we're wasting time."
Silence and solitude are the key to having a more peaceful and restful life. Try setting aside Sundays for time to be silent, without any distractions, and even if you can only make it a couple of hours, you will feel so much better. Here are three benefits of going a day (or just a couple of hours) without speaking.
1. It Leaves Time for Introspection
We must look for what is good and what isn't within ourselves to act with integrity in the way we lead. And we must know what we need to change to lead effectively. Yet we often pull away from looking inside. Either we feel it’s too difficult to look, we are too busy getting the stuff done that (we think) takes priority or we would rather look elsewhere. The world pulls us to look outside ourselves for answers. Without tasks to do and problems to solve, we feel useless. We spin and spin, looking for answers. Yet, if we slow down and listen to ourselves, we may find that the answers are within us. The only way to make that happen is to have dedicated “quiet time” to reflect and look inside.
2. It Allows You to Gather Your Energy
By taking time to be silent, you will be pulling back from the chaos of the daily stresses. We spend so much time and energy talking all day long. The act of pulling this all back and saving it literally feels like catching a breath. Use your newfound energy to clean up something that’s been bothering you or use this time to journal. Either way, setting time aside to be silent will help you gather your energy.
3. It Teaches You to Mean What You Say
We often use words to fill the unwanted silence. What tends to happen is that our words become meaningless. By taking time to be silent you will produce more meaningful conversations with people and you will ultimately find peace. As you grow to find comfort and peace in a silence practice, you'll no longer need to fill space with words hastily. Over time, you become more intentional with your words and you will finally mean what you say.