What do I do if I’m not doing all that? I sit in silence, I walk, I read, I feel the sun on my body as I contemplate my garden and I meditate. I visit with friends if something is pre-arranged. I play with my cat; Kali loves these days when it seems I never stop tossing the ball or pulling the string throughout the house for her entertainment. I eat salads, and I miss having my morning coffee. But I remind myself that it’s only for 24 hours.
Like a lot of people, I can get overwhelmed with the fast-paced world of technology that, for the most part, enhances our lives. We communicate, problem solve, create new ideas and develop systems at breakneck speed. We have trained ourselves to think on our feet, to multi-task and to make decisions on the fly instead of mulling over our reactions and responses in contemplative repose.
At the Center for Spiritual Living, my metaphysical abode, our practice for this and next month is silence and retreat. We’ve been talking about ways to question if you’d benefit from spending time in silence and some ideas for ways to create that for yourself. If it’s been forever since you’ve taken a whole day to be alone or if you can’t go for an hour without checking e-mail, Facebook, etc., you might be prime for a ‘No Tech’ Day. For me, I participate daily in a snippet of silence when I meditate. On a No Tech Day, I meditate several times: upon waking and later in the day, sometimes leading to a delicious nap.
One of the main rewards I get out of taking a break from a fast-paced life is being reminded how the simplicity of a quiet day enhances my appreciation of all that surrounds me without fanfare. I remember what silence sounds like, I become aware of what outside noises I live with daily, and I stop to smell the flowers both in reality and metaphorically speaking. While I’m embarrassed to say sometimes it takes one of these retreat days to get me back in touch with the simple things in life, I’d rather own up to it and gain the benefits instead of just plugging along without nurturing my soul.
It’s pretty simple but it can be challenging if you’ve never lived without electronics for a day. You can do it. You can improve the more you do it. Don’t get discouraged. Try it for an hour at a time at first. I promise you it’ll be worth it.