Sunday, August 14, 2011

To Be, Or Not To Be

"And if you feel just like a tourist in the city you were born

Then it's time to go
And define your destination
There's so many different places to call home
Because when you find yourself the villain in the story you have written
It's plain to see
That sometimes the best intentions are in need of redemptions
Would you agree?"
 - Death Cab for Cutie, "You Are A Tourist"

There is the Awkward Silence. There is the Ominous Silence. There is the Two Good Friends Sitting But Not Speaking Silence and the Anticipatory Silence, but the kind I want to talk about here is, for want of a better name, the Quaker Silence. Because, once again, I went to Meeting with my best friend.

We aren't quiet because we have to be, but because that's just how it works. There's an important distinction.

There's something incredibly special and mind-blowing about a group of people sitting together not talking or interacting, but not in an awkward "Wow, we're all just sort of sitting here. Hm" sort of way.

It makes you realize that each and every one of the other people in the room are in the middle of their own thoughts, and their own experiences--whatever it is they do/think about during the Meeting. You aren't viewing them as they relate to you...because for the moment they don't. You know they aren't going to say anything to you--or if they do speak up, it will be to the room as a whole. It isn't "you" and "them." It's you and a whole room full of other yous.

The silence isn't awkward, or anxious. It may as well not even be silence, since it's not silence for silence's sake but to eliminate distractions and draw focus away from the immediate surroundings.

It's a safe place in which you don't have to worry about the present. It gives you the opportunity, I guess.

Unless, of course, you're like me and are too busy contemplating the value of such a silence.

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