One of the effects of quick and easy electronic communication is that anyone can say anything to thousands, if not tens of thousands, of people with a few quick clicks and a press of the “send” button, without even a moment’s pause. We’ve lost the value of allowing time and space for reflection to frame and produce our comments.
Who asks themselves these questions any more: Do I need to say this? Is this valuable? Is this the best way to say it? Is this what I really want to say? Is this clear and concise? Could this inadvertently bring hurt or harm to someone else? Is this true? Does anyone even care about this? Sometimes it feels like the whole world of interpersonal communications is set to either “knee-jerk” or “stream of consciousness” — unedited, unconsidered, unending.
Long before the advent of the internet, when we still wrote our first drafts in longhand and pecked out the final manuscript on a manual typewriter, when we still developed readable penmanship to write and mail letters to friends and family, I was trained as an English major to care deeply about the written and spoken word. Then I was trained as a journalist to know that any sentence that is incorrect or easily misconstrued could destroy my credibility or lead to lawsuit. So I have always had a predisposition to exercise some care about my words.
Even so, looking back to my life before and after I came to understand the way the human mind works to create reality, I can see a huge change in the frequency, intensity and quality of my communications. Having learned to reflect, I find I have less and less need to say a lot, and I care more and more about what I do say. I find that a sudden urge to write or say a lot, in detail, with fervor, about anything feels symptomatic, rather than important, to me (not that I never do it anyway). By “symptomatic” I mean it lets me know my mind is racing, and I’m losing the capacity to reflect and speak from insight and wisdom, not from habit and reaction. It’s certainly not that I’m especially insightful or wise. We’re all the same. Everyone, absolutely everyone, on the planet has access to insights and wisdom beyond their habitual thinking. We don’t always take advantage of that access; some people have lost touch with it. But it’s there for us all, always.
We recognize that access by the feeling of a quiet mind. A mind at ease generates responsive ideas that are right for the moment, and nothing more. A mind at ease produces a graceful flow of ideas with plenty of space between, reflective space to allow fresh thoughts to form, like bubbles rising to the surface. A mind at ease listens without thought, taking in what others are saying and allowing it to have its own impact, without rushing to produce an answer. A mind at ease allows small thoughts to pass, unwritten and unsaid, while larger thoughts are rising. A mind at ease is comfortable in silence and clear in communication.
What generates a quiet mind and appreciation for it? We don’t have to do or fix anything to find our own quietude. It is our natural state. We just look to live in a quiet state of mind, to enjoy our lives as they unfold, simply realizing that original, constructive, creative thoughts are the natural gift that is our birthright to thrive and survive. Insight, wisdom and common sense come through us readily when we allow our minds to work in harmony with life, knowing that ideas will arise and create our experience of reality. Once a reality appears, it is. As thoughts flow, each passes, and something else is. A quiet mind does not entertain extraneous thought about the dynamic course of reality. It is.