QUIETUDE: “a state of stillness, calmness, and quiet in a person or place”

It’s often so hectic leading up to Christmas when we are tired from twelve months of meeting the various demands in our lives, keeping up with expectations of our workplaces, our families and of ourselves. There is a distinct buzz in the mind as it races from one thought to another, anxious lest an important detail is forgotten that may result in further complication, best avoided.

It was with much appreciation, and peace of mind that I was able to embark on several days of silence, away from the city and of frenetic routine. Strange how the silence evoked a vivid display of the myriad habits of thought and behaviour. I was confronted with the impact of my lifestyle and how little space was available to contemplate and examine whether I was living in a way that was consistent with my values of service to others, patience and equilibrium. Which I was not, by the way.

It took several days for the internal chatter to quieten; and then a tranquil headspace replaced the mental busyness and revealed some deeper insight into what causes the departure from peace. I had been seduced by the notion that to “do more” was competent, efficient, important and to “just be” was time wasting, proof of inefficiency and unrealistic. This belief was dispelled after a few days of meditating, walking and allowing peripheral vision to wonder over meadows of lush grass, strewn with wildflowers of white, yellow, blue and magenta. Devoid of the usual distractions such as TV, books, movies and chat fests with friends and family, my mind settled into a peaceful rhythm and the subtlest feeling of happiness arose.

Quietude helps to still the internal ‘white noise’ of incessant chatter and soothes our nervous system from the constant bombardment of sensory input. What is realistic, is that we can be as, if not more effective in our life endeavours by factoring in quietude.