The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Why Bother Being Quiet?

Pascal was an intelligent man who lived in the 1600s. He was a physicist, religious philosopher and master at prose. He once said, “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” 

  Alone and Quiet

Though the world today is much different than it was in Pascal’s time, some things never change. In every era there has been and will always be, death, family feuds, rotten politicians, natural disasters, religious differences, poverty, war, and injustices. 

Consequently, our world is populated by people and people pose difficulties. Even if it came down to only two people left on Earth, with having everything they needed, dilemmas would still arise. Case in point; Adam and Eve. 

So, why do humanity’s problems originate with our inability to sit quietly in a room alone? 

First, let’s consider ourselves. “How does it feel to sit by myself?” “Do I get along with myself?” “Do I believe the world can get along without me if I bow out of it for a little while?” 

If I believe that I am the blessed controller of my world, then it will be difficult for me to be alone and quiet. But, if on the other hand, I believe that the only control I possess is to control my thoughts and my actions, then being quiet and alone is a little bit easier to ease into. 

When I think of those who believe they reign over the world, I can’t help but think of The Wizard of Oz. In one particular scene, Toto, the dog, pulls back the curtain and reveals the Wizard, who is just a man that has devised a machine to project a mighty and powerful image. 

Ultimately, like the Wizard, we are all humans who at times create a big ruse. 

The practice of being alone and quiet is a practice that slows our brains and our breath. Sitting alone may be the biggest obstacle to overcome in our lifetime, but as we overcome it, we will be amazed at the results. 

A long time ago, someone suggested that I insert some quiet time into my day. Like the time outs I gave my sons when they were disobedient, but without the guilt of my misdeeds. 

 Though I find early mornings work best for me, I have a friend who secludes herself in the mid-afternoon of each day. Still, another finds quiet space three times a day; morning, noon and night.

When I first started this practice, it felt a little awkward. I did not know what the results were supposed to look or feel like. On top of that, I wasn’t sure if I was going about it correctly. But like any new habit, we discover what works best for us. 

My practice has evolved and will continue to do so simply because we all grow and change, as do our lives and routines. But what remains is that being alone and quiet is the best time of my day. It sets me up for success because when the world comes at me, I know how to slow down, breathe and bring myself under control. 

Have I solved any of the world’s problems? No, I’m sure I’ve not. But I know that in the thick of any one of the conundrums that I encounter in a day, I’m thinking my way through instead of racing through in a state of panic. 

Why bother being quiet? It is worth it to be quiet in a room alone so that we might learn to be okay with ourselves as we are and keep our ruses at bay.

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