Wednesday, 11 April 2012

The Power of Silence

Silence is deafening. It has an amount of energy like no other source. It has the power to get people to think, to act, and it also helps to slow the mind. It is a vital tool used in areas such as counselling and life coaching. We live in a culture that values sharing every thought and feeling as it occurs. Some of us don’t often pause to reflect on what we have just said. This lack of reflection can lead to a superficial connection with ourselves. In contrast, by paying attention to the silence within our conversation, we can connect more deeply with ourselves. This deep connection is the basis of an authentically engaged and self-actualized life.

Paying attention to the silence as the space between our verbal exchanges allows the meaning of these exchanges to be assimilated and from that place of depth, our creative engagement naturally flows. This creative engagement along with our internal processes allow us to discover more of whom we are, taking in previously hidden aspects of ourselves, and aids the process of reconfiguration. This lets us refocus our attention on the present moment. By being more focused, we become more self-actualized, and that permits us to impact our world in powerful ways.

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Verbal communication balanced with moments of silence are both useful in meaningful communication. They marinate as one forming the parts of a whole that we can dance between. Verbal communication expresses to the world what is going on inside the mind of an individual. The silence, the gap between our talking, frees us to digest what was said and to discover what we want to say next as it emerges in the present moment. Our communication becomes a forum to explore new territory in ourselves by listening to what we say, rather than talking about what we already know.

By valuing silence we are able to rediscover what is taking place. We are enabled to listen in a finely attuned way to what is being said. This provides the listener the opportunity to understand more of the subtleties of what makes the person tick, and how the individual makes meaning of life. The same benefit of valuing silence that occurs in a therapist-client relationship is relevant to any relationship, whether it is spouse to spouse, or parent to a child.

Consider pausing the next time you are talking to someone and you find yourself automatically saying what you normally say. Reflect on what you just said -- does it resonate? Then, see if what you say next seems true to who you are in the moment. See if what you say leads to a self-discovery. At this very moment you will experience the power of silence.

To discover more about the power of communication apply online to and enjoy one of our programmes in Communication Studies. 

Mikki Clarke