Sometimes my mind is a raging river of chaos. Sometimes it’s a tranquil lake of stillness.
I have been a chatterbox since I first decided to share words. My mom would tell me I was at talking age but was not talking and the doctor said not to worry, that I would speak when I had something to share.
I started at two and half.
Apparently, those first two-plus years of my seven years in a theta state had built up a carriage-full of thoughts needing to spill out. Half English, half Finnish and nonstop. It took a long time for me to slow my speech and finally to honor gaps and allow folks to digest my mutterings.
And for them to speak.
It also took meeting someone, and then more, who talked and talked and talked. Who asked questions but drew assumptions about the answers immediately. Who interrupted time and time again to interject their view.
It was annoying—and a great lesson for me. Oh my, I was, am that person. I took a deep inhale and then longer exhale through my nose and vouched to stop. And to learn the art of listening. Really listening.
Going within through meditation helps, accepting the chatter in our minds as thoughts jumble about. Lately, I have to shut off the five-letter words that flash across me to use for the upcoming days of the Wordle game. And do not get me started on making up seven letters to create five-letter-minimum words for Spelling Bee.
However, meditation, like silence, is a practice.
And silence is also actively listening to someone else speaking.
Silence can be found deep inside as we shut off televisions, radios, social media, windows. Silence can be a welcome embrace as we venture outside to only hear the songs of the mockingbirds, the hoots of the unseen owls, the whispers of leaves in the wind. If you listen, really listen, you may hear the tree roots communicating with their neighbors. The chirp of the frogs mating calls.
The stillness of meditation is like a light-weight shawl draped around your shoulders. The silence outside your body, with the thoughts flowing inside until, sometimes, a gap, a slowdown. A time to give gratitude, a time to give love.
Stillness in meditation can even come from a walk outside with only the song of the birds, the leaves dancing down the path, the Sandhill crane couple walking, the anhinga stretching its wings on the bank of the lake. Peace and contentment.