I just recently returned from a ten day Vipassana meditation retreat where I practiced an average of 12 hrs a day in noble silence. Verbal communication is something that have always found extremely important because I have noticed that all of the healthiest people in my life communicate authentically- and all of the most miserable people in my life seemed to internalize and shelter their true emotions, causing them intense suffering. Through my coursework I have seen that psychological health and well being comes from acceptance of the authentic self, both internally and in relationship.
What does talking have to do with silence? I’ll get there I promise.
I found that experiencing mental silence (coupled with the teaching of Vipassana) is a path through which one can begin to experience authentic emotions. It was shocking to me how deep our emotional responses go- and at times, when reacting we may not even be aware what we are communicating to ourselves and others. While I was on retreat I naturally missed a lot of things. I missed verbal connection with my family, I missed music (surprised?) and I missed touch. This made me think a lot about nostalgia. What causes us to feel connected to something? Why is an old picture at a thrift store in Portland making me fall on the floor laughing?
We create stories and connections in verbal and nonverbal interaction with ourselves and others. Our attachments both personal and generational says a lot about what we are connecting to or with. At this time in my life I notice that my friends and I have grown increasingly (and at an alarming speed) close to technology. Many people I talk to about this highlight the problems it causes behaviorally, but I want to talk about some goodness I see in it. We are now provided with a channel to connect with one another from anywhere in the world.
I skype with my best friend in Thailand.
I just talked music with a dear pal in Madrid.
That is something I am incredibly grateful for in my life. The ability to travel the world and stay connected to those you wish to share your life with is a freedom I am just beginning to taste. Specifically, the introduction of Timeline on facebook has been of interest to me. While scoping it out with friends I noticed how nostalgic this layout is. Not only are you able to give attention to major, meaningful life events, you are able to go back to any point in your life and see what you may have been up to. For those of us who have been on facebook for over 6 years, thats a whole lot of personal data. I felt extremely nostalgic glancing through some of my old memories that facebook has preserved. I want to end by saying that there is an incredible amount of beauty in the present moment, so revel in it, taking juuuust enough time to preserve some of the nostalgia you wish to indulge in later in life.