This is part 5 of a series on Stillness. To read the other parts, please visit our Stillness Page.
This series on stillness is the second series in our Tao Te Ching Exploration Project. Throughout this project, we will be discussing some of the basic principles brought up throughout the Tao Te Ching. The principles we will cover are Awareness, Stillness, Discipline, Humility, Flexibility, Consistency, Connection, Service and Leadership. I am sure that there are many other principles that have been discussed throughout the text, but these are the nine topics that I am choosing to focus on over the next several months.
I relate to each principle by focusing our attention on each of the nine chakras, based on the Q’ero Shamans’ chakra system that is explained in depth in Dr. Alberto Villoldo’s book, Shaman, Healer, Sage. In this system, the chakras extend outside of our human form, which allow us to recognize our greater aspects of being. With nine chakras and nine disciplines, we will end up with 81 essays on living with the Tao in mind throughout every aspect of our being. (Since there are 81 chapters in the Tao Te Ching and nine is a completion number, I felt this was a fitting tribute.)
I hope that you are enjoying the series and will continue to explore with us throughout the rest of the project.
The Fifth Chakra: Communication
At first glance, I kinda laughed at stillness and communication. They almost seem like opposites. There are a lot of ways to think of this. I often think of stillness and silence together so the first thing that comes to mind is silent communication.
Stillness in communication can be about just waiting to speak.
Just take time to speak. Take space between your words to really formulate what you want to say. I always admire people that don’t talk. There is something amazing about people that can do that. I talk a lot, usually. There are many different reasons for someone not speaking. Often times, it is trauma. But sometimes, they just don’t want to. Many people can speak, but just choose not to.
I think the whole world should try not talking for a day.
I just think people absorb so much more when they don’t speak. We may assume that because people are not speaking that they are not understanding, but they do. Same with animals. Animals understand things on an entirely different level and very little of their communication revolves around speech often times. Animals are not as talkative. Birds certainly talk a lot. Trees and plants are silent. I look at the energy of silence. Silence holds a kind of quiet soft energy.
Stillness and silence are not the same thing.
Stillness for me is about really letting the space be quiet and still. One time I went on a business trip with this co-worker who was kind of a quiet guy. We didn’t know each other very well, so we didn’t really have a lot to talk about. After a couple of minutes of idle chatter, we fell into a silence but it wasn’t a pregnant silence like it normally would be in a social situation. We just did not say a single word most of the trip. It was a four hour drive. I marveled at it, but it was kind of nice. It was just silent and we were both able to do our own things. Stillness can be there. You can just let it be present in the space.
Silence is part of your communication.
If you don’t respond to something, you are communicating. Sometimes that is good and sometimes it is bad. Sometimes you don’t respond because someone is trying to manipulate you. That can be a positive thing and it can be a very powerful way of communicating. In the negative sense, you may cause some problems by not responding to them because they may assume the worst.
My husband and I have both tried some silent days. This reminds me that I would like to try it again. It is like a fast, but with words. You just go silent. We are talking about buying some land a few years down the road for our retirement and one of the reasons that we want more acreage is so that we can build a little cottage back in the woods for silent retreats. This reminds me that we should practice more silence at home because we both love it, but we forget to do it. We let the words just run rampant.
What about you? What do you think about stillness and communication? Have you ever had much success at not speaking? Tell us your story in the comments below.