I did an experiment years ago for about a month where I didn’t speak unless I was spoken to or asked a question.
One of the first stages I went through was self-consciousness. I thought that those who knew me were going to wonder what was wrong. However, for the time it probably took other people to get over me being quiet, it was probably one thousanth of the time it took me to get over thinking about it!
The next stage was dealing with the two sides of my brain. The part that was on side with the program of not talking was being begged by the other to allow “just this one time” to express itself. It was like that of a addict saying, “This will be the last time”. If I enabled the nagging child within, then I learned nothing. And if I were to be asked the next day what was so important to express, I doubt I would’ve have remembered what the fuss was about.
Whenever I learn about myself, I think I learn about humanity. It’s then that I become more compassionate. At first, it might be the kind of compassion that I talk myself into. I know I should be acting more compassionate if I’d like to become a better person so I negotiatiate with myself. And then the compassion becomes routine. I become to really like it. And then it becomes innate.
When I had finally ‘shut up’, I could observe others more. It was observing without judgement. I was only able to do this because I had reached the nasty depths within me and seen my insecurities for the all the muck that they were. At least for the time being. I figure there will be always other muck to come up when I’m ready to see it.
So the very time that I’d have the urge to talk, was the very time not to talk. I can only assume this is because my socalled ‘need’ is the very thing that, once explored, is the very thing that feels an insecurity or fear of not being heard. Like a pot on a stove overflowing and no one was tending to it. I would ask why the thought has such a desire to be expressed. I’d ask myself what fears were behind the frustration or anxiety. I’d ask this question over and over until it finally rested. That’s when I’d discover that whatever the insecurity, it was the very thing that made me like everyone else.
The knowledge that I gained from shutting up was immeasurable and I can’t explain it in words. What happened when I no longer asked myself questions was a peace that I haven’t come to know very often in this life. A calmness that I don’t too often experience came over me. And it was all day, everyday. Perhaps I should really make this a regular experiment and shut up more often!