It rained last night. As the earth soaked up the moisture, it gave out an earthy smell. This morning, I see deer running down the gravel road. The wind rustles through the trees, a bird chatters and the woman downstairs cooks her breakfast.
I woke up an hour later than usual, the sky was already light. While making tea in the huge round room that holds the kitchen/living room I stopped to smile. This is exactly the kind of house I want to live in, and my private room is perfect.
During my time here I have had some real conversations. And, I have even been talking to people “about having conversations.” I am actually articulating what I think a good conversation is. Instead of babbling, I am listening. Three people have thanked me for listening to them.
When I lived in a densely populated urban area, I found that I talked “at” people. I didn’t engage, I lectured. I had a front, a persona, that I needed to maintain. Most of my energy went towards maintaining this front, and the rest went towards hiding what was behind it.
Here, I don’t need the front. It is unnecessary and worthless. Rather than telling my stories, which were mostly bullshit anyway, I talk and listen to communicate. I talk when there is something to talk about, I talk about things that are happening in present time, I talk to move “mental energy” from one place to another. P.D. Ouspensky said in The Fourth Way, “You must think first, and then act. You must decide your course of action. Do not walk over people without seeing them.”
Someone once put forth the idea that introverts need to be a little extroverted at times to balance out their personality, or to open themselves to new experiences. I immediately disagreed with this without knowing why.
Now, the reason why is emerging. Introversion has many facets. A person could spend their whole life delving into its mysteries. Being introverted is not a matter of talking more or talking less, it is a completely different way of seeing and being in the world. It is about giving silence priority over noise. Until a person learns how to be silent, and give silence the respect it deserves, they wander aimlessly in a wasteland of words. They drown themselves over and over in meaningless exchanges of energy and then wonder why they are always so tired.
Money has become our primary medium of communication because words are so ineffectual. People can still understand the meanining of, and the difference between, one dollar and two dollars – but can they understand what their partner, child or the talking head on the tv is saying? Probably not.
But increasingly, even money is becoming incomprehensible. After I sold my home, I was advised to put money in “the market.” Over the course of ten months I made a profit, but during the past week this profit was entirely wiped out, putting me back at the beginning. I looked at the financial websites that were full of words like “diving, plummeting, crashing, black, bearaggendon.” It was all nonsense, I have no idea what happened to my money. The talking heads said, “It’s Greece, it’s China, it’s interest rates – all of which had as much meaning to me as saying, It’s Someone’s Big Toe.”
While I was browsing around the university library the other day, I came upon a book by Margaret Atwood called Payback, (Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth). The most recent issue of Yes magazine is all about Debt. It is encouraging to see non-finance people exploring our concepts of wealth and debt apart from the jargon most of us don’t understand.
Is there any intelligent life left on the planet? The only way you will know is by listening to the silence. The path of introversion, as a spiritual practice, and as a way of being in the world, starts with nothing. By taking myself deeper and deeper into nothingness, I find my Self.