The Power of a Silent Experience

When we are with someone and we are experiencing something together, we feel the need to always speak about the experience to each other, while we are having the experience. For example, you go on a walk with someone or you go to a museum with someone, we usually speak to each other about what we are thinking or experiencing. The speech may not necessarily be related to the current experience, we may speak about something that occurred in the past (“the other day, I….”) or something that may happen (“oh I’m going to Peru next week….”) or even speak about someone else who isn’t there (“did you see that xyz graduated?”). 

Have you ever tried experiencing something with someone without speaking? 

Try it. For some reason, we as individuals feel the need to constantly speak. Why? 

Speaking allows us to share knowledge, to praise, to share joys…. and it can also invite judgement, discrimination, time, and opinion. There is a time and place for speaking and there is also a time and place for silent experiences. 

When one does not speak and one is not spoken to, one is allowed to experience and experience ONLY.

When one does not speak, one is allowed to experience and experience ONLY; there is no pressure to speak about the environment in which one is perceiving nor about something that was or will be. Speaking slows thought. When not speaking, there is only The Now.

When there is no speaking, nothing else exists except that which you perceive (or have perceived). The real truth is in experience. 

How did I learn this? Well, I have an amazing soul sister, Manu, visiting me here in Rio, for three weeks. Before Manu’s arrival, we had been planning on having a non-speaking day where we would only experience (inspired by Marina Abramovic’s book, Walk Through Walls) . Now Manu is here and we have been living all of our experimental and experiential fantasies. The moment came at the right time. We were about to leave to do a late night beach workout and swim. She would be swimming and I would be working out at the outdoor gym at the beach. Before leaving the apartment, I asked her when we would be having our non-speaking time and she looked at me in silence and at that moment I FELT IT BEGIN. The speaking seized. 

From here forward we relied strictly on body language and feeling. What did we feel from the other person? What body language were we displaying? What did it mean? What would we learn from this experience? 

In silence, Manu and I both prepared ourselves for our night excursion (around 9pm), she put on her swimwear and I put on my exercise clothes with swimwear beneath. We left the apartment, walked to the beach, she swam and I worked out, we then walked to another beach and we both did whatever we wanted there (swimming, handstands, stretching, meditating). After about two hours, we silently agreed to go home. We arrived home, still, no speaking, and I decided to write about my experience (what you’ve read in bold at the beginning of this post) while she showered. After I finished writing and Manu showered, we spoke about our experience. It was fascinating that we both had the same revelations. She expressed to me exactly what I had written about my own experience: when not speaking during an experience, time is now, speaking slows thought, etc., We are so thrilled about our revelations and experience that we are going to have a full day of activities together while not speaking to each other (i’ll post about it when it happens).

Here are some other observations:

Speaking would not have moved our flow any faster. Everything we wanted to do, we did freely.

Silence invites silence…. People were so curious at our silence and our silent communication that they became silent, and after a silent observation of us, the observers would speak very softly to each other thereafter. This reminds me of the whispering effect over the phone. When you call someone and whisper, they can begin to whisper without even noticing. This is the power we have as creators, the ability to make someone do something without them noticing. The power is in the reaction, we were silent so they became softer in their speech or even silent themselves. 

Just as loudness invites loudness, silence invites silence. Just as happiness invites happiness, worry invites worry. This is the creative mind.