Total stillness now, interrupted only by the cawing of crows in the sycamore down the way. In that stillness there is space and time for reflection, for listening to inner dialog. To think, to ponder, to get in touch with the self within has become a rare thing, a luxury enjoyed by too few. I become aware that I am playing with phrases, constructing and deconstructing sentences, describing even the air around me. People come to mind–family members who are struggling, friends not seen in years, those talked with just yesterday. This brings me to reflection on my own attitudes and emotions. The change, I realize, has been deep and wide. I am not now the person I was 20 years ago, 5 years ago, last month. And I like the person I am becoming. Notice the continuing present. Life is a process. When we stop growing and changing, we start dying.

I hear other birds as well. Some newcomers to the neighborhood add their unrecognized song to the surroundings. My pondering continues, now observing creative thoughts, deeper thoughts are stirring. I am struck by the great treasure that is available to everyone, the ability to process and create, bringing forth a new aspect of reality unique to them. However, a world of unceasing noise and distraction removes the stillness, that space and time of quiet in which the individual’s thoughts can take shape, to the blessing of us all. We are therefore all losers in a noisy environment. The unrealized potential creative idea that each person could bring is lost to the din of the day. Our culture has trained us to be restless unless there is a steady stream of noise — the background store and elevator music, the ubiquitous TV. Headphones, iTunes, Pandora. We fear to be left alone with our thoughts; the very idea is foreign to us. In the process, we lose our true selves.

What is that fear of stillness, of silence? What drives us to turn on the TV or radio the minute we walk in the door? What within in us do we fear? Or is it possible that our “surround sound” is all that tells us we have being, are alive? A primal fear is that of non-being; for many, silence is equivalent to that state of non-existence.

Yet God says, “Be still and know…”  Elijah didn’t hear God in the storm, but in the still small voice. It is when we know, from that stillness, that we then know who we are and are to become. In that becoming, treasures are discovered and shared with the world. For the benefit of our world, then, we should begin by quieting down to listen. Time to use your mind to explore, invent, create. Shhh. A mind is working here. This is a quiet zone. Shhh.