A few months ago, my spouse and I broke free of our Netflix addiction and rediscovered the power of shared silence.

Maybe you know the seduction of Netflix. You come home after a long day and feel the need to relax and decompress. Zoning out on Netflix can be a great mode of choiceful relaxation.

But, there is often a thin line between habit and “addiction.” How to know the difference? One way is to ask: “Who’s in charge, me or the ice cream/beer/TV/Facebook?” Point being, we had gotten to the point where Netflix was in charge, not us.

It wasn’t a “let’s make a change” kind of change. It was more subtle than that. It happened when Susannah got reacquainted with the relaxing pastime of so-called “adult” coloring books, and I took a knitting class.

We began making different choices after dinner. Sometimes we would still go for Netflix, but more and more often, we would reach for the pens and needles, and sit companionably at the kitchen table, coloring and knitting (I know, how very quaint!).

Which got me to thinking about the power of shared silence. About how relaxing, bonding and intimate it is to quietly share space with others, while holding the same sort of intention (this last part – shared intention – is why I think sitting with others staring at our respective smart phones is not “shared” silence). In our case, there was a creative focus, but there are many other ways to experience shared silence: doing qigong in a group, or meditating together, or praying together. Or, certain sports, or during writing or art workshops, or taking in the wonder of nature.

When I trained in the martial arts, the teacher gave instructions, but students were expected to not talk during the practice. It was amazing how well I got to know the other students, even though we were not having conversations.

When we talk, we most often connect on the personality level. When we share silence, we have the opportunity to know/see/sense someone’s essence, their essential self.

How do you experience shared silence?

In Good Health,
Kirstin Lindquist, L.Ac.

Source: © “Under the Rain” by Leonid Afremov – Afremov Art Studio on Etsy.

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