I don't know if it was growing up with a dad who I watched meditate when I came downstairs on a Saturday morning. Or if it came from observing loud and boisterous people and how they affected those watching. Or how, when someone said too much, they would get into trouble because of their choice of words - and I took notice.
I mean, granted, I could definitely be the outgoing one at the party. In fact, I usually was. You don't get chosen as "most congenial" because you're a wallflower. I usually tried to talk to everyone in the room. I actually felt uncomfortable if I noticed there was someone I hadn't met yet.
But then noise started to bother me.
Not all noises. I'm a musician. I can't hate noise. But noise that I thought was superfluous. Words that didn't have to be said. Words that came from thoughts that shouldn't have been thought.
Unless I heard words that offered a positive resonance, they started to hurt.
You know when you tune to a radio station, and they're playing your favorite song, but you can barely make it out - over the static? Mmmhmm. Like that. It hurts you to listen but you REALLY want to.
At social gatherings I would really try to listen and care when people complained about work. I really tried to be interested when acquaintances would talk about how their brothers' fiance's mother's step-nephew was was dating that girl from high school who we never used to like - can you believe that?
I even offered up my own thoughts from time to time.
But then I realized that all this trying wasn't really me. In high school it might have been. I was trying to find myself. I was trying to make friends. I was really trying to get to know people.
"Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue." Proverbs 17:28
It's something children need to know now. There needs to be a class in elementary school: Finding your own Path. A class that allows kids to be creative, to be expressive, and that ends with 5 minutes of introspection.
I've really wanted to laugh with people I've called friends. I've always loved connecting with people and finding that one thing that we can build on and use to create wonders in the world. I really really want to hear that song on the radio. But it just won't come through. There's too much static in between us. There's negative feedback.
I used to be happy being in the middle of noise. I craved it. Now I find the light that shines through all the static - in silence. And I think I always knew there was truth in silence. That first quote is a lyric from one of the songs that will be on my debut album, coming out this spring. I've asked myself that question a lot - when I'm in the middle of static, when I feel too much verbal clutter around me - "what are you waiting for?"
So I sit. I turn inward. I become silent. Really silent. And I listen. I listen to my breath. I listen to thoughts but then I tell them to go away for now. I let light come into me. I do this until a big smile appears on my face. And then I sit some more.
You can't imagine how good silence feels, now and again. Try it. I speak the truth.