Sunday, April 15, 2007

behold the power of silence

i think in another life, i was a monk.

the other day i started thinking about silence. it's one of those things that, when you have the ability to be comfortable in it with others, is kind of rare and precious. but what about when, with another person, your relationship to silence changes over time? for example:

i have a friend of many years - seriously! at first, there was the occasional awkward silence as we got to know each other. however, as we were meant to be good friends, in short order we hit that space where a spot of silence seemed perfectly fine. a lull in the conversation, to be sure, but i felt just as comfortable and happy to be with her as when we were talking.

it was this way for quite some time. then some changes happened for both of us, that were difficult to talk about. enter a new silence, and a not a comfortable least for me. with time, we've been able to discuss *some* of those things, but it still often leaves me (moderately) ill at ease, i guess because i know there are things left unsaid.

i do think that finding comfort in shared silence is really a measure of one's own comfort in stillness. now me, i find stillness, solitude, alone time, not only comfortable but necessary. not that i don't crave human contact...but i definitely need time on my own, without any noise but the clocks, keyboard, cat purring, rain, birds, or wind around me. my core needs silence for restoration.

don't get me wrong, this is not about being shy. but because of this need for silence, i can be perfectly comfortable being around *most* people without talking up a storm. which i think means my perspective on this topic is a little off, with respect to others.

i suppose what i am really wondering is, when with someone you care about, how much silence is too much? even though my friend and i have grown apart some, and can't discuss everything, the thought of discussing nothing (calling it quits) is not high on my list either. ah, dilemmas.


Viv said...

Personally, I love silence, but I am absolutely not able to be comfortably silent around everyone. Likewise, some people simply can't be silent around anyone. When I do find someone I can be comfortably silent around, and vice versa, I treasure that, because I find, too, find it rare.

heather said...

wow that is a good point. i will have to see if i notice myself unable to be comfortably silent around additional people. maybe something about certain people's personalities that set me off to talking, to fill the space. interesting!

Dharma said...

I crave and need solitary time, it doesn't need to be silent (ie no music or tv) but it can be. TGF and I can sit at our computers on the couch (bless laptops with wireless)and not speak for long spells. It's nice. In the car though I think I need to entertain - past relationship issues more than anything. Long story.