What I Learned from Sitting in 4 hours of Silence
Just like everyone else on the planet I’ve got shit to learn, and stuff I need to work through.
Every time this exercise came up I made a conscious choice to step over it.
7 years ago prior to the wheels coming off my life I thought meditation was ridiculous. I had no time to be still because I had shit to do. I couldn’t sit in quiet because my head never shut up. My thoughts were constantly racing with idea’s, to do lists and gawd knows what else.
It was just busy up there.
Meditation didn’t sound or feel peaceful. It was uncomfortable torture. I would much rather hit the gym and push a 200lbs sled around than connect with the universe. That shit was for tree huggers.
Oh how times have changed.
When life takes you to your knee’s you have a choice.
Be a victim or rise and take responsibility.
The process of slowing down and becoming a human BE-ing instead of a human DO-ing had begun and it was raw, uncomfortable and often painful.
There are many more stories I can share that got me to this point but let’s just fast forward and say that I’m a pretty regular 10 min per day meditator.
10 minutes is do-able. It’s peaceful and focused. I actually enjoy 10 minutes that are FOR me to connect inward and with the universal forces. It grounds me and allows me to set my energetic intention for the day. It follows my morning workout and has become part of my routine that is a non-negotiable. Four hours of being in silence with just me and my thoughts was challenging for me to wrap my head around. In fact I had avoided this exercise every time it came up in the coaching program I’m a part of. We’re talking a good 8 months of avoidance.
Here’s why I finally did it and what I learned.
Everyday I call people up into the work I do. I’m asking them to step into what’s possible when they slow down, tune in and BE with the stuff in their lives they’re avoiding. They’re terrified of what they’ll find when they start asking questions, exploring what’s driving their behaviours and take responsibility for the current reality of the relationship they’re having with themselves.
So here I am leading this work yet avoiding doing the very thing that feels uncomfortable. BE-ing silent and fully present for an extended amount of time was 100% outside of my comfort zone. Avoiding doing this exercise was no longer an option because it was violating how much I value my integrity. I didn’t know what would come up and I was uncomfortable with the thought of sitting for that long with no distractions.
Just me with me.
I reminded myself that this was something I was choosing to do and that time just to me was a gift. Immediately out of the gate I had to override the thoughts that tugged at me..
“This is a huge waste of time”
“Oh the things we could be doing right now”
“I have things to do.. groceries etc”
I set my timer and reminded myself that I always have more than enough time to get everything done and that this was going to be time well spent.
I was surprised to find the first 2 hours moved by pretty quickly. I went in and out of meditation with ease and just trusted my intuition about when I needed to open my eyes and reset. I was also pleasantly surprised to find that my internal banter was pretty peaceful.
It wasn’t chaotic.
My head wasn’t filled with negativity or unfriendly banter.
I experienced deep gratitude.
I let the world go by and enjoyed being a part of nature just like the Eagles sitting on the river pylons in front of me.
My timer kept ticking down the seconds….
Then I hit the two hour mark. I was ONLY half way.
That was the moment I wanted to quit.
The discomfort returned and the voices returned.
“We have things to do”
“No one will know if you stop… in fact it’s totally justifiable if you want to stop”
“This isn’t for me…”
“Just quickly check in on social media…”
“2 hours is amazing so that’s good enough…”
I didn’t quit.
I reminded myself that this was 100% do-able and that I wasn’t going to die of my discomfort.
I closed my eyes and recommitted to the exercise.
I flipped my timer over so I could just be present and not torture myself watching the minutes tick by.
I completed all 4 hours.
In fact at the end of the 4 hours I felt deeply peaceful, calm and grounded. More than I’ve ever been in my life. The rest of the day seemed to expand and I had more than enough time for everything I wanted to do.
But here’s the most important thing I took away from this exercise.
I began to ask myself where else I’d started or totally avoided starting something only to quit when it got hard or uncomfortable?
I challenged myself to think outside the box to look deeply at the question. I never call myself a quitter, in fact I’ve let go of the grind it out mindset however, quitting can be very subtle. Humans are masters at justifying our excuses but in the end that’s all they are. Stories we’re telling ourselves to avoid, stay comfortable and quit when things aren’t going our way or aren’t happening fast enough.
I KNOW I can do hard things but where was I avoiding things that felt uncomfortable? Where was I quitting when the discomfort got to much and what price was I paying by quitting?
Where was I NOT taking responsibility because it didn’t feel good?
Sitting in silence isn’t hard but it was uncomfortable until I decided to let go, be peaceful, accept full responsibility for staying committed to the exercise and focus on what a gift that 4 hours was.
There are things in my business that aren’t hard but they are uncomfortable because I’ve CHOOSEN to feel this way about them.
You also have the opportunity to lean into your edges, to get comfortable with being uncomfortable and finding what you need to learn to grow you.
You’ll be amazed at what happens when you don’t quit.
Make your goals and dreams important enough that you stay with them even though you don’t know when or even how you’re going to achieve them. Turn the stop watch over and stop counting, get present, shift your perspective and embrace the process.
Success favours those of us willing to do the common things uncommonly well.