Silence as an active interpersonal experience
Silence is more than committing to keeping your mouth shut, or leaving time for the client to think and reflect. It’s a deliberate activation of a state of being that invokes the presence of spirit beyond the boundaries of words.
Consider relaxing, slowing down the mind and inviting the divine to show you what is most important to be aware of or to do. Tune in to spiritual resources of love, joy, gratitude or other spiritual values that you find most helpful. Request guidance and be expectant and thankful for it. Trust that you are tapping into a mind of infinite creativity and love.
When Otto Scharmer, author of Theory U, senior lecturer at the Sloan School of Management at MIT, and co-founder of the Presencing Institute, was 16 years old, he was told by a red-eyed teacher to go home from school one day. Before he arrived home, he could see black billows of smoke and hundreds of neighbors standing gawking. In the book Presence, which he co-authored, he writes:
“The huge 350-year-old farmhouse, where my family had lived for the past two hundred years and where I’d lived all my life, was gone. As we stood there, I saw that there was nothing--absolutely nothing--left by the smoldering ruins. As the reality of what was before my eyes sank in, I felt as if somebody had removed the ground from under my feet. The place of my birth, childhood, and youth was gone…. But then I felt time slowing down… I realized not everything was gone: there was still a tiny element of myself that wasn’t gone with the fire. I was still there watching--I, the seer. I suddenly realized that there was another whole dimension of my self that I hadn’t been aware of, a dimension that didn’t relate to my past, to the world that had just dissolved. At that moment, time slowed to complete stillness and I felt drawn in a direction above my physical body and began watching the whole scene from that other place… I suddenly know that I, my true Self, was still alive--more alive, more awake, more acutely present than ever before.”
Scharmer, in Theory U, describes a level of listening that goes beyond the facts and beyond empathy to something more like grace and compassion—a level at which you realize that you are no longer the same person you were when you started the conversation. “I can’t express what I experience in words. My whole being has slowed down. I feel more quiet and present and more my real self. I am connected to something larger than myself.” It moves beyond the current field and connects to a still deeper realm of emergence, what he calls “generative listening”.
We use various levels and experiences of silence throughout the course at Awaken Coach Institute. What happens when you get silent enough to know what's really wanting to emerge in your life?