Today I was in therapy and there was an awkward moment with my client.
There was a long pause; a silence.
The sound of silence was so loud, that it cut the air in the room.
My Patient said: “I don´t know what to say…” but, “I have to say something!”… as he said that, he began bouncing a foot, and twisting his watch, turn by turn, bounce, turn, bounce… He looked uncomfortable, shifting from side to side in his chair…bounce, turn, shift… rhythm of the unconscious to control and pacify.
I just kept quiet…
“This is very strange, i´m feeling anxious!”
The silence was too much; the silence was too loud. Anxiety kicked in as a defense mechanism.
The therapeutic moment ended. I started to talk.
We as humans are social beings that have been accustomed to loudness, accustomed to noise. We live in such a noisy environment that we take for granted noise. We feel o.k. if there is some noise, but we feel DANGER if all is quiet. We max out our volume; you can hear what another is listening through their headphones. We seek loudness. If we have a car, we want the engine to roar, the bazooka sounding and almost bursting everyone´s ears.
Think about it… if you go out to the street, and there is rush hour traffic, and honks and beeps and screech´s, radio too loud on subwoofer systems… all is good.
What would happen is you go out, and there is NOTHING… a lot of NOTHINGNESS… a lot of SILENCE? … ANXIETY happens, FEAR. We as humans fear silence. Why? Because, when all is quiet you may hear your own thoughts, your own body, you may hear your mind.
If you want to get to know yourself, get to know your silence.
Practice a little bit of silence each day. The next day, practice more… until you feel comfortable in your own silence. Be with yourself, feel good to be able to hear your thoughts, and you won´t need somebody else just because you are dependent of them for some NOISE.
Hello darkness, my old friend,
I’ve come to talk with you again,
Because a vision softly creeping,
Left its seeds while I was sleeping,
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Within the sound of silence.
-Simon and Garfunkel – The Sound of Silence