I’ve been writing about this quest for silence, solitude and simplicity for almost three years now. Clearly it involves more than just turning off the TV, sitting alone in a room, or getting rid of stuff. It is about stilling the mind/body/spirit, which includes stepping out of the mainstream of life, where critique, opinion, and the need to be ‘right’ are part of every day living.
Letting go of offering opinions is a precursor to letting go of having judgments. We all experience some schadenfreude--the satisfaction or pleasure we feel at someone else’s misfortune--which is at the core of many judgments. The challenge is to discern when the opinions we offer are really some form of schadenfreude in disguise, and then, if so, let them go.
I realize that this path toward silence, solitude and simplicity removes me from some aspects of the social mainstream. As I share fewer stories about others people, conversational encounters will shift. Hopefully I’ll become a better listener. That’s how it was with my mom. When she was told of someone’s plight (or success), she would smile and leave it at that. No opinion or critique from her, although sometimes she would respond to a negative story with, “Well, I don’t know about that.”