The value of silence, with Erika Kleestorfer
We easily fall into the habit of living according to society’s standards and requirements instead of living our true selves.
While the importance of living our true selves is an easy enough concept to comprehend, it is much more difficult to put into practice. Getting to the point where we know and can live our true selves requires significant introspection. With all the noise of our busy lives, introspection can only truly happen if we start embracing silence.
Our behaviour is often informed by society’s treatment and demands of us. If a child is constantly sent the message that they need to perform to get some sort of recognition, they might very well do so and well into their adult lives. While the perpetuation of such behaviour can make a positive contribution to society and the self, it does not mean that that is the individual’s true self. Some people recognise that they are not living their true selves and simply carry in the same vein, as they don’t know how else to go about life. Others, again, go on searches or journeys to find that true self and live a more authentic life. Many of these often lead to exploring silence.
While many of us consider an hour or so of silence sufficient in centring ourselves, a more drastic approach is sometimes needed. Enter the silent retreat. During a silent retreat, attendees are not permitted to speak, make eye contact or read. Sometimes there are sessions where questions may be presented, as they come up during the process, but these are the only times that communication is permitted.
The purpose of such retreats are not to interact with others, but to interact with yourself, discover who you really are away from all the trappings of daily life. You are forced to connect with your inner source and confront any problems or questions, without the temptation of ignoring it by switching on the television or engaging in another form of distraction. By drowning out the noises of our harried lives, we can recharge and become open to new possibilities and new thinking.
The moment you connect to your inner source and get to know yourself better, you also get to know your ego better. If you know and can identify your ego, you’ll know when to step up and make a contribution in your environment or when to just let it go. So often it is our egos that prevent us from truly making progress in our lives or careers, so being able to identify it will go a long way in handling it better.
So how does all of this benefit an organisation? As an individual, you make a contribution to your organisation, but also to other spheres of your life. If you truly want to make that contribution a significant one, you have to get in touch with who you are, so that you can start to harness the power that truly lies within.