silence is the dawn of true speaking

At the end of the 4-day International Coach Federation (ICF) conference, in the last time-slot on the last day, there was a new and curious breakout session.  It was entitled “The Practice of Silence,” and was described as a chance to draw together the learning and experiences of our time at the conference, “the opportunity to center yourself through the practice of silence and allow what next wants to emerge, to emerge."

After being “talked at” for a good part of a week, I was ready to learn what I’d absorbed, what gems of wisdom and practice I was taking home, and what might come next for me.  And I was eager to be in silence and see what showed up.

There was a leader who offered us meditators and non-meditators a framework: ten minutes of silence, followed by an opportunity for spoken reflection on what we’ve learned. I would have preferred to leave out the spoken part, but others found it useful. We then did two more cycles of silence, one of 15 minutes and one of 20 minutes.

During the first silence, I focused on what I wanted to remember about the conference’s three keynote presentations. After the time of silence, I jotted down the following notes:

  • Deep Thinking – What draws these people to not only think about large systems, but also with the intent to generate wide-ranging systemic change?
  • What keeps me from doing this?  Or do I?
  • I need to do more meditation to promote integration of thought and energy.

Just below it in my notebook I also wrote down this quote, offered to us by the leader: “Silence is the dawn of true speaking.”  I can’t recall the author, but assume it is most likely composed by someone like the Dalai Lama or Thich Nhat Hanh, someone known for deep thinking.

Here are some of my thoughts regarding the notes:

  • Deep Thinkers have a calling and they are responding to that call.  The thinking they offer us is “simply” their unique contribution being expressed.
  • What keeps me from doing this is the missing belief that I: can do it; can make a difference; will be safe if I do it.
  • It is easier to write about meditating than it is to build it into your life.  At one time, I was a daily meditator.  This is no longer the case.  What will I do about it?

My questions to you are these:

  1. Where do you fall short of what you know to be true about you?
  2. Where do you fall short of what others know to be true about you?
  3. Do you want this to be any different?
  4. If so, what do you want to be different?  (Write it down!)
  5. What are you going to do about it?  (Write this down, too.)
  6. Now, find a way to get the support you need, so your dreams stay clear and present in your life. 

As a shameless reminder, let me say that coaching is a wonderful tool and support when you’re stepping into something big.  You go farther faster, with more ease, greater satisfaction, and, dare I say, with more joy.  I highly recommend it.  I wouldn’t be doing this work if I didn’t know it to be true.  For your convenience here's how to contact me or find a coach through ICF.

-Steve Reiter
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