lessons learned:  listening to the Great Silence
lessons learned: listening to the Great Silence

lessons learned: listening to the Great Silence

If there is any wisdom running through my life now, in my walking on this earth, it came from listening in the Great Silence to the stones, trees, space, the wild animals, to the pulse of all life as my heartbeat. 

~Vijali Hamilton

In some ways, technology is an unfortunate thing.  “Social media” has led us to believe that we can have a social life by conversing through text, email, status updates, and tweets.  I will be the first to admit that when I need my “alone time,” I would rather send a quick email than make a lengthy phone call.  It’s more efficient and let’s me share what I need to.
The problem with e-response, however, is that it doesn’t create a dialogue.  I assert that bec/ it leaves out one very important aspect of conversation–listening.

Recently, I was sent an email that shared opinions and gave commands.  It was not information that I really needed to respond to; rather, it seemed that the person just needed me to listen to what she was saying.  My response?  No response.

Well, that didn’t set well with her because we’ve all been reinforced by social media that the only way to demonstrate listening is by giving a response.  Hrmph.  What happened to the thoughtful facial expressions or gentle touch on the arm that really need no words?  And then there’s the option of giving a response which will be misinterpreted or not the answer anticipated by the sender.

Sometimes, the best answer is no answer.

Nature has a lot to teach us about the importance of listening.  I guess that’s why I find it so therapeutic to step outside when I need work through issues.  The tomatoes just hang there respectfully as I share my latest frustrations on raising a teen, and the blueberries simply bob in the breeze as I question what life holds for me.  Being in creation has reminded me of what it means to be a good listener.

We can’t avoid emails and e-chat–they do connect us to the people we love.  Perhaps, however, we can start a new trend.  Rather than having to-provide a lengthy response, we can simply note, “I’m listening,” and share the wisdom that only comes through Great Silence.



  1. Beth Drechsel

    I do think that social media has a type of dialogue, but it’s often not adequate or complete in the same way it would be if we were sitting down next to each other. However, I am glad that social media is out there because, for example, I would never have “met” you without it! I do so enjoy your blogs and I feel I know you somehow. But I realize that even this little bit of knowledge is mostly one way–you to me–because I rarely post a comment. However, I’m commenting today because in this particular post I like how you point out that with social media we miss so many physical clues that can be a response in and of themselves. Things like a widening of the eyes, an intake of breath, a shake of the head or a nod, a chuckle, a pursing of the lips . . . You know what I mean. And just now you’ve missed all of my physical clues but at least you’re getting a response! I’m glad I “know” you.

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