The Mindfulness Blog

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Four months ago, I wrote a piece about Tension, sparked by the "Soapbox" feature that had been published in the September, 2019 issue of WSJ Magazine. Well, the "Soapbox" topic last month was Silence, and if you'll pardon me, I'd like to jump on that soapbox!

As was the case with the earlier piece about Tension, none of the six people asked to opine about Silence, were lawyers-- for a profession that tends to talk a lot, and has a particular affinity for words I (for one) found that to be rather interesting, but that's a different story.

In the world of mindfulness and meditation, silence is usually accompanied by stillness-- they are, of course, two entirely different things but they coexist in perfect harmony. So, too, does silence coexist with much of our day-to-day activity-- activity that allows us to notice or reflect-- even contemplate. Silence-- like a splash of milk-- goes with both coffee and tea. Funny how that works!

Ironically, much of a lawyer's day can be spent in reading, writing or reflecting, yet the ameliorative effects of that quietude-- the silence
-- seems to elude many of us. Which raises two immediate questions in my mind: 1) Why, and 2) Can we do anything about it? Inquiring minds want to know.

The answer(s) to the first question-- why the ameliorative effects of silence seem to elude so many of us lawyers-- is/are long (and, no doubt, varied) and might be a topic for another post. I do have my own thoughts, but they would fill more space than can be reasonably allotted to this post. The second question-- can we do anything about it-- is most certainly "yes", and relatively straightforward: Mindfulness and meditation, as components of a comprehensive well-being program would do the trick.

In December of 2019, the New York Times published an article in it's Sunday edition entitled, "Experiencing the Silent Treatment"--a piece written by a woman who had attended a silent retreat at the Insight Meditation facility in Barre, Massachusetts. If you've ever been on that kind of retreat (I have) the article was interesting, but not all that enlightening. It did, however, (along with the WSJ Magazine piece) get me thinking about silence.

We all need silence-- a daily dose, first thing in the morning, in the shower, driving the car or riding a train, as we arrive in our work cubicle or office space-- at varying times during the day. Wherever, and whenever. Silence can be a lot of things, but most importantly, it's time with ourselves-- which is a good, and necessary, thing.

The "Sound of Silence" is not necessarily as dark or dramatic as Simon & Garfunkel would have us believe-- as a matter of fact, it can actually be quite uplifting--try it for yourself!


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