A few days ago I met with a young lady over a networking dinner. “How do you measure impact?” she asked me during our intensive conversation. I took a moment to think as it was an important question to me, with no obvious answer at hand. After just 2-3 seconds she said: “oh sorry, I didn’t want to puzzle you with my question”. I was not at all uncomfortable with taking some time to think, but obviously she was. This seems very common to me as silence is very uncomfortable to most people. Assuming something is wrong many feel embarrassed or think they embarrassed someone. Or they get bored and loose interest. Everything has to be instant, immediately, seamless. Not having an answer instantly is not an option anymore. Talking blabla is more accepted than silence.
What happens when we take a moment of silence..?
Teachers like Eckhart Tolle say that he always takes a few moments before answering questions: he does not invent the answer nor think it but waits for it to show up by itself. Allowing the answers to emerge. As if something was speaking through him.
Silence and presence are the key to accessing a field of information and wisdom that lives beyond our forceful thinking and our intellectual mind. After a few moments of silence the quality of conversations shift… new insights show up, arising from an inner spaciousness, rooted in wisdom and nourished by our intuition, from a deep knowing far beyond our direct experience and knowledge.
I practiced being comfortable with silence, resisting my inner tendency to instant reactions such as interrupting other peoples precious silence.
“I am not puzzled, I am waiting for the right answer to show up”… I heard myself saying. And then I started talking, or something started talking, and I listened to myself, as I did neither plan, nor predict or control what that I was saying. It was that moment of presence and awareness which let me get out of my own way.