They say that the true test of a relationship is if you can sit in quiet together.
There’s a sort of intimacy in being able to sit together silently. Not have the weight and pressure of conversation and noise to disrupt what could almost be called a meditation. I think about this sometimes when I’m with Lars, because we are really good at being quiet together. No chatter, no television show or movie to distract us. Just us and air. Silence.
I was thinking about the concept of quiet the other day as Lars and I sat around. And, it occurred to me, maybe I’m not doing this quiet thing right. Because while my mouth is shut, my inner voice is going a mile a minute.
Is this inner dialogue part of the “quiet?” When you’re laying around, are you supposed to just empty your brain of all thoughts and just live in the moment, like in meditation or yoga? Or is it the mere fact that you’re able to sit in silence the thing that makes the quiet a success?
I’ve become hyper conscious of how loud the voice in my head always seems to be these days. Even when I’m doing guided meditation on my own, I find my thoughts drifting, distracting me from whatever is in my present moment and surroundings. Everyone who’s had success with meditation, that I know, says that it takes a very long time to get yourself into a place where everything, including your own chatty brain, gets quiet.
It takes a long time to find that upper room in your own time and space where you can sit and just be. No plans, no judgments, no expectations, no analysis. I think sometimes this high-speed American culture we live in would have us believe that to stop the speedy racing of your brain would be counter-intuitive. Why stop the mind from running when it can accomplish so much more? If you continue to think, you can be productive even in your sedentary moments.
I’m trying to get away from that philosophy of Go! Go! Go! I think the traditions of the East have a better handle on productive use of our energies. The internal balance that we require, or at least I believe we require, has to even out our crazy brains. Let my mind go crazy, dissecting and creating, but, let it also be still, empty and calm. The Yin and Yang.
Tonight, as I lay with Lars quietly, I try to let everything else go. I even try to stop thinking my little thoughts about him and the particulars of where we are, what our plans are, what’s going to be on the agenda tomorrow…but, it’s hard. I only found a few minutes of true quiet. But, like most things in sobriety, it is the desire and the journey of seeking that is the true test of will. There was once a time where even a moment of undisturbed quiet caused me enough discomfort to want to jump through a window and run to the nearest pub or liquor store.
Today, I’m a seeker. And, when I’m frustrated by the voices in my own head, I tell myself, quietly, it’s in the seeking that we find, not the discovery itself.