Quiet Thoughts on a Quiet Day... About Quiet and Stillness

I think most people will agree that we live in a fast-paced and often noisy world.

Of course, the idea of "noisy" means different things to different people. I happen to be an introvert, and I am also very sensitive to noise, in the physiological sense of the word. Not only do I not like noise, but my startle reflex has resulted in my being on the butt-end of practical jokes for most of my life.

Peaceful view, Big Sur, California

Stillness is Often a Paradox

The whole idea of stillness and peace and quiet often presents itself as an interesting paradox.

Yesterday was Thanksgiving, here in the US of A. I happen to really like Thanksgiving Day because it tends to be a "quiet" day, at least in my perception.

That might seem like an oxymoron to some, given that Thanksgiving is often celebrated with parties and festivities, and that often includes a bunch of people yelling at the TV as the football game progresses.

In this case, the "stillness" I am referring to is the stillness of commerce; the stillness of human industry.

If we back out a little further, we might even characterize it as the stillness of stress; the energetic background noise level of people "having to" engage in a bunch of activities drops towards zero.
Another peaceful view

Paradox Within a Paradox

Of course, many people actually like noise, business and the sound of being active and industrious. And I'm totally OK with that...

But the paradox — at least in my perception — is that a bunch of these people might also be found reading books about "Finding Inner Stillness" and going to meditation workshops to be quiet.

What's the paradox, you might wonder.

Well, we purport to want peace and quiet and even hold it out in front of ourselves as a goal, and yet we fail to actually choose it! It's almost like it becomes some kind of unattainable "brass ring" we just can't quite manage to reach... no matter how hard we try.

Buddha in the labyrinth

Choosing Stillness...

I once confuddled one of my neighbors who asked why I was so often riding my bicycle to the stores when I had a perfectly good car.

"Because I like how QUIET it is," I replied.

Victor didn't quite understand it. He also didn't understand why I used a small non-motorized hand push mower to cut my little patch of grass, rather than a power mower. Or why I trimmed the hedge with a pair of hand shears, rather than a motorized hedge trimmer.

For me, it was never about the amount of work or convenience, it was about the noise level.

Incidentally, not just the noise level as it affected me, but also the noise level as it spread around to the greater world in the form of noise pollution.

But stillness and quiet remain paradoxes, even for me. As I type these words, I am listening to techno music... which might surprise most people who know me, and who would probably think my office space would be either silent or perhaps have some Zen flute music in the background.

Hey, I never claimed to make sense!

Hope everyone here in the US — or wherever else you might be celebrating — had a great Thanksgiving!

Thanks for reading!

(Another #creativecoin creative non-fiction post)

Comments, feedback and other interaction is invited and welcomed! Because — after all — SOCIAL content is about interacting, right? Leave a comment-- share your experiences-- be part of the conversation!

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Comments 49

@tipu Curate

30.11.2019 06:13
30.11.2019 06:13

Thank you @dswigle!

30.11.2019 07:35

Oh, yes. I like the stillness. Sometimes. I am not adverse to noise, but, I more often than not won't turn on a tv or radio or noise of any kind all day. I usually ride in my car without the benefit of radio.

I sit. Still and think. Because I like to.

I had a lovely Thanksgiving, thank you. I hope the same for you.


30.11.2019 06:17

We had a peaceful day, thank you!

I'm usually quiet in the car, too... it's one of the few times I feel like I am actually alone, and it gives me a chance to process my thoughts.

30.11.2019 07:37
🎁 Hi @denmarkguy! You have received 0.1 STEEM tip from @dswigle!

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30.11.2019 06:17

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30.11.2019 06:21

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30.11.2019 06:25

Thank you for the support!

30.11.2019 07:40

I get it. I think it's two sides that make balance, but there are positive and negative expression of each side. I like excitement but excitement which is malleable, that we are able to add or subtract from. I like finding peace inside of chaos. I like being an extrovert to challenge myself and play with the world around me, but behind all that I'm just like you!

What I find really challenging is that nosie of commerce that you mention. It doesn't seem to move for anyone or anything, like a black hole. I think things like sports to when you are the only one who isn't into it. If there are another 10% or so who aren't into it it's less uncomfortable

30.11.2019 07:10

That raises the interesting point of having some kind of group or "tribe" of like-kind minds to relate to. I do find chaos and loudness a little easier to navigate when I am there with someone else who more or less relates to my "predicament."

On the whole, I just seek the quiet spots of life... the "excitement" so many seem drawn to leaves me with a sort of "adrenaline hangover" I'd just as well avoid...

30.11.2019 07:39
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PS: Feel free to translate this post where applicable and share it with others.

Posted via Marlians.com
30.11.2019 13:17

I like quiet, I also like stillness. There have been times when I've found such a peace I've bubbled inside and then it went away because I was too noisy..

30.11.2019 14:12

When the deafening roar of silence breaks the silence...

30.11.2019 16:00

I so get you on this one. I too am the one that prefers the quiet, stillness, and often solitude as well. Thanksgiving dinner with the family at another home was so loud that I practically didn't say a word most of the day. I would have rather enjoyed a quiet day with my husband instead. The chaos that people endure on Black Friday always makes me wonder why they would put themselves through that. But, then each to his own. I am with you, listening to my inner peace and thoughts are more important that the business of an average persons day.

30.11.2019 14:31

That chaotic nature of "Black Friday" just feels to me like it is not only completely missing the point of the entire celebration; it has — in some way — more of less hijacked Thanksgiving by making "consumption" more important than "reflection and gratitude."

But such is the world in which we live, I suppose. I just try to do my part to make it not so.

30.11.2019 15:58

I so agree, we just kick back and wait for the chaos to slow down and do our best not to judge those that like to partake in it. To each his own. ;-) It was a great article.

01.12.2019 14:23

Yup! I try to leave the "frantic runners" alone, as much as possible!

04.12.2019 16:51

Thanks for share your thoughts

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30.11.2019 14:38

Silence is Golden no truer phrase ever used, sounds in nature are music to the soul, man made noise is so destructive @denmarkguy

Here is wishing you a belated Happy Thanksgiving, may your festivities be far away from the maddening crowd and noise.


30.11.2019 14:47

Thank you for the tip @joanstewart, appreciate it!

I love the quiet of nature, too... long used to tell people that "Nature is my Church" because it has been where I go to find solace and peace since I was a teenager.

30.11.2019 15:56
🎁 Hi @denmarkguy! You have received 0.1 STEEM tip from @joanstewart!

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30.11.2019 14:47

Congratulations @denmarkguy! This post has been featured in today's Power House Creatives.


03.12.2019 07:51

Thanks for the support, as always!

04.12.2019 16:52

This post was curated by @theluvbug
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03.12.2019 08:13

Thanks for the support!

04.12.2019 16:53

Whilst I admittedly have music blaring about 90% of the time, whether it is in the car or the kitchen - there are those moments when I simply NEED the quiet. There are also certain noises which I find affect me really intensely in a negative way, and I have noticed that my son Jude is highly sensitive in that respect too.

03.12.2019 08:33

Hey @jaynie! Jude being an HSP, I'm not surprised he has certain noises he's very sensitive to... for me, ir can be something as simple as an unbalanced fan on the neighbor's air conditioner that puts a squeak-whap-squeak-whap vibration in the air... or a leaf blower or string trimmer being used somewhere. Most people would simply tune it out, but I experience it as a protracted nails-on-chalkboard thing. Ugh!

I have music going 90% of the time, too... because... well... music is my mind-altering substance of choice. That's "different," somehow...

But I think a lot of noise is also the result of the many people on the planet who are simply not comfortable being alone and in silence with themselves... so they create "noise" to override that silence inside they are so uncomfortable with.

04.12.2019 16:59

That is VERY true @denmarkguy. I dated a guy once who could not fall asleep without the tv being on right in front of his bed... so the sounds and all the flickering lights. It drove me to dementia!!!!!!!! They say that sort of behaviour is strongly linked to depression, which in his case would be spot on.

06.12.2019 15:15

I learned a new word, as I'd only ever known about befuddled. Thanks! :)

The thing about peace, is that sadly, it isn't fully possible to achieve IMO, because we will never have exclusively peaceful people alive on this planet. It's further complicated by the observable proclivity of the non-peaceful among us to seek power, and they usually get it.

I dislike noise pollution and especially when it's made by inconsiderate people. I dislike most things that inconsiderate people do, but the noises some of them make are often clearly made just for the fact that they enjoy disturbing others' peace.

Like the guy with the 2 cycle motorbike with the exhaust baffles removed, and he's constantly gunning the thing because it's so noisy, or the guy with the Harley, also with the baffles removed which creates a loudness that can break your eardrums. It's not that I'm against bikers, just the inconsiderate a-hole ones, lol.

03.12.2019 08:42

Incidentally, not just the noise level as it affected me, but also the noise level as it spread around to the greater world in the form of noise pollution.
What a great truth

03.12.2019 09:46

Seems like a lot of NOISE is created in the name of "entertainment," and we are living in an age where there's this idea that almost everything is supposed to "entertain" us, even things that aren't remotely entertaining. So we're presented with a stream of music, and video clips and noise to allegedly "entertain" us... and all I want to do with that is run away and hide!

04.12.2019 17:02

You know that I try to escape the noise and go to the fields or woods for nature talks

04.12.2019 18:49

I love the photos you shared. I could stare at them for hours. Ahhh peace and quiet 😊😊

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03.12.2019 09:55

Thank you! Peace and quiet matter... and I think a lot of people tend to forget that!

04.12.2019 17:03

I like all those places and they really radiate a lot of peace.

03.12.2019 10:04

Great post. I hate noise too and crowded places, so like you I also enjoy the calm of a holiday. I always argue with daughter about her inability to stay quiet, and just rest for a while. She is very restless and must be doing something (that usually involves noise) all the time.
I think that this noisy world has made it impossible for us to hear our interior voice and even to hear the voices of that and those that really matter.

03.12.2019 11:52

There’s something to be said about silence. After a few decades of city living and working in a rushed environment I retired to the country and love the general peace and quiet.

There is so much noise and radiation coming at us every minute; the blaring TV, hum from the hydro lines and computers but when the power unexpectedly shuts down it is pretty boring.

03.12.2019 13:30

I'm totally with you @denmarkguy! I too love a quiet and peaceful environment. Television drives me crazy, just sitting on the back patio painting or a good book is the way to go. You're right about Thanksgiving, it is one of my favorite holidays, food, family and peace and quiet :)

03.12.2019 13:51

Hi. Such a great post. This one spoke to me because I love quiet, stillness, solitude. Nothing but me and my thougts. No television, no phone calls. It's hard to achieve for me, but I strive for it.

03.12.2019 15:20
Thanks for sharing your experience with us!
You have been curated by @freedomtowrite on behalf of Inner Blocks: a community encouraging first hand content, with each individual living their best life, and being responsible for their own well being. #innerblocks Check it out at @innerblocks for the latest information and community updates, or to show your support via delegation.
03.12.2019 15:32

There's so much that can be said for this. I studied human communication in college and, indeed, the word noise can have so many meanings.

My youngest son reacts to loud noises as well as bright lights (which I would consider visual noise) to the point that he has a set of silencing headphones just to dull out external aural stimuli.

We're constantly bombarded by so much noise we've become accustomed to it, and we dont' even realise it until something happens like losing power in the house. Now that's quiet, and to some, it's quite unnerving.

03.12.2019 17:46

You want stillness, peace and quiet my friend, then join me in nature as that's where you will find me at every opportunity in my life.
Especially in the mountains far away from the maddening crowds.

03.12.2019 18:45

We could all use a little more quiet in our lives. I like too. I wish I had more of it, but I cherish what I do get. And, to be honest, that's more than it used to be. I love the quietness of solitude.

03.12.2019 21:45

Wonderful post @denmarkguy 🙏

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03.12.2019 23:35

Yes, life is full of paradoxes. And none of us is pure in terms of the things that interest us, and how well aligned our cultural tastes are with our personalities. So you are entitled to whatever discordant choices you may make! 😁

I always have a quiet thanksgiving, even though we serve 10-12 people dinner. I think first of all that it is one of my family’s very favorite holidays, and we slide into it with such pleasure and glee. It is like a long slow stretch. There isn’t a ton to do, and we have all day to do it, plus there are plenty of people to pitch in. But I do think that for whatever reason it tends to be a very chaotic holiday for many people!

04.12.2019 06:31

Most of the time I like quiet especially when coming home from work. But noise from a welcoming family is always no problem from me. Weird as it may seem there are times when I listen to heavy music I find silence and sometimes hums me to sleep. Nothing makes sense if you know what I mean.

04.12.2019 08:27

I am so with you on those power tools! I carry that into my home: I'd much rather sweep than vacuum, I'd much rather use a knife than a food processor, I'll choose a whisk over egg beaters any day. Can not stand the noise. Tasks done without a machine are relaxing, not jarring.

04.12.2019 15:56