Too often we engage in exchanges with someone being completely unaware how what is running through our heads is a response to what the other person is sharing. We are focused on our own response ready and waiting and not listening to the other. What about if we stopped and just listened and not only that… With awareness of our inner commentary in that moment not only we decide not to pay attention to that ‘noise’ but also make a decision to say nothing when the other person is finished. This is particularly useful in emotionally charged situations. Instead of jumping in with what’s in our heads we decide to pause and hold that space in silence, allowing the other person to breathe into what they just expressed and shared. I heard some calling this a practice of ‘sacred pause’. It is a truly transformative experience and such a learning in awareness not just of what we do unconsciously on a regular bases, but what effect it might have on our conversations and relationships in a wider context. This can be changed in a way that is beneficial to all and, yes, it requires practice like anything else that is worth doing. However, you never know, you might just like it, just like I find myself liking it more and more.
When we empty our mind of all the clutter in any given moment and allow ourselves not to speak, not to respond and just hold that space, it feels expansive. I find myself I am able to breathe evenly and deeper when I am aware I am in my ‘say nothing’ space. It also feels wonderfully liberating and peaceful. In terms of conversations that allowing of space in return becomes an even flow of exchange, the other person relaxes just as much as you do and there is an understanding that you are truly listening and there with them, which allows them to share more honestly and more openly rather than rushing through sentences trying to cramp as many words as possible into a conversation, because unconsciously we all feel it when the person opposite is about to jump in with a response. When that energy is diminished or switched off to a different vibration all together, it is felt by the other in return.
In relationships it creates trust, it makes us feel held, felt, seen and understood and isn’t it what we all want deep down? We are often caught into projecting on to one another and it creates misunderstandings, which then builds into conflicts and all sorts of distorted defensive positions where nothing gets resolved yet a lot of energy is spent on it. When we tell ourselves to ‘shut up’ no matter what comes our way, it is not that we invite it all in, no, we simply hold it in-between the two. In that in-between pause it becomes a choice of whether to take that projection in, react, throw it back or allow for time to pass in ‘silence’ for the other and yourself to process what had happened and wait for a natural resolution whether it is deciding to turn around and walk away or embrace one another.
I give you an example. My husband came home the other night in a bad mood and began making comments and moaning, i.e. projecting his frustration on to me. I felt myself preparing for a battle in my head, ready to throw some stuff right back at him. Taking projections is very hard, by the way, and requires practice and most of all self-awareness. Because I was aware of what was happening within him and within myself I was able to ‘pause’ and make that wonderful decision to be silent and say nothing. Once I took that stance I felt my chest filling up with space, I felt more relaxed and allowing for whatever my husband needed to let go off come out. It is important not to take it personally, as if you do, you have taken on their projection and would inevitably be triggered into your own inner drama, which would then produce proejctions back. I embraced his rigid body and with my holding him in my arms I allowed that space and he continued to let things out with no judgement on my part. When he was done he felt better and appreciated that space to be with what he needed to be with. It avoided a potential argument and we both benefitted from that experience. We were able to get on with our night in peace and harmony.
Silence is very soothing. It has that vibration of allowing spaciousness. Often it is better to say nothing than say something inauthentic, not nice or simply unnecessary. There is so much unneccesary noise that goes on around us and within us. Silence speaks in its own way and we don’t practice that enough. It takes away from real listening to one another, from being intimate with one another, feeling, seeing and understanding one another. Next time something similar comes up, try ‘saying nothing’ and just being in the space. It might just turn out to be a game-changer.