Sunday, February 12, 2006

The value of silence

The other day I pulled a book off my shelves that I hadn't looked at for a good long while. It's entitled, You Already Know What To Do: 10 Invitations to the Intuitive Life by Sharon Franquemont. A passage on silence caught my attention:
Silence is a listening post for intuitive knowledge, including the knowledge of when to do nothing. Silence, therefore, has a direct impact on your ability to live a more efficient, productive, and stress-free life. Another potential outcome of cultivating silence is tapping the intuition necessary for creative breakthroughs.

In 1926, the psychologist G. Wallas, recognizing how vital silence was to the creative process, named the second step of his four-step creativity model "incubation." This term refers to the moment in the creative process when you let go of all conscious thinking or working toward a creative goal and, instead, send it into the womb of your silence. There it incubates or gestates. Eventually, intuition delivers an illumination or an "Ah Ha!" flash, the third step in the creative process. This is because intuition and creativity are so entwined that one does not succeed without the other. Intuition without creativity lies dormant as unlived potential; creativity without intuition lacks the spirit necessary to make a lasting difference. The hinge pin between the two is silence.

It's hard to find silence in our noisy world and many people are afraid of it. The meditation process, if nothing else, teaches us to be comfortable with silence and to cultivate it deliberately.

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