In her book Silence: Making the Journey to Inner Quiet, Barbara Taylor writes,
“I began to know quiet in a way I have never known it before. No black hole of emptiness or infinite nothingness. Rather a fullness, a coming-into, a vast, unexplored region.”
I felt at home with these sentences when I read them. I’m journeying to pull back the layers and understand why. Signing up for spiritual direction still seems like a mystery for me, and yet practicing spiritual disciplines in a community has been a homecoming. I’m discovering a deep longing for solitude that I’ve always had.
As I journey back, I think about my preferences. No music in the car doesn’t bother me. Big crowds have always been overwhelming. A loud concert isn’t where I’d prefer to spend my time.
Yet I have also felt the black hole of silence. Living alone in an apartment being sick. Turning on music or a show to keep me company. I detested quiet because it reminded me I was alone and at the core I didn’t really like myself.
I’m glad I’m learning to journey inward. I’m more readily accepting my gifts and limitations. I’m getting acquainted with my “shadow side” or my false self that I tend to portray socially.
Yet no matter what personality type we are: introvert or extrovert, I believe that we all long for quiet. We long to feel whole, to feel loved, to be still and not perform for applause. To be rooted and grounded. We want to be loved at our worst. We long to be gentle with ourselves and be able to love and forgive others.
What is your relationship with solitude? What emotions surface when you are quiet?