Enjoy the Silence
A commenter on my last post reminded me of another important point that came up during that radio show, that I wanted to highlight here.
Plenty of people complain that they wish they could hear/see/feel the gods like certain other people do, or at least wish they could do so better than they currently can. Of course, they often mistakenly think that such ability comes naturally or easily, when in fact it is usually the result of many, many years of work and practice. But there’s another factor involved these days more than ever before, and it needs to be examined. And that is the fact that our culture is geared entirely toward making sure you never have to be silent and still, alone with your thoughts, for a single moment.
The other day I stood waiting for the bus and watched a girl take out her phone and perform a number of completely meaningless actions (I think she was playing some game), just so she didn’t have to sit there quietly for a couple of minutes with nothing to occupy her mind. I am seeing this more and more lately – people unable to stand even a brief time without external stimuli. And this goes hand-in-hand with people being decreasingly aware of their physical surroundings, as they walk down the sidewalk (or gods forbid, drive down the street) with eyes glued to a device.
These trends do not bode well for the future of our species in many ways, but they are particularly dangerous for anyone with spiritual inclinations, especially those who wish to be able to communicate with the divine. How are you supposed to ever hear the voices of the gods when you never permit a moment of silence in which They can be heard? How will you notice the omens They may be sending to you when you don’t ever look up from your phone?
You need silence – both literally and metaphorically – to give Them room to communicate, and to give you the ability to process that communication. And it can’t just be a minute here or there – for not only do the gods not work on your schedule, but it is going to take some time for your brain to unwind and become receptive after a constant barrage of input. It’s like how, if you sit quietly long enough in the woods, you will start to hear more and more birdsong and animal activity, as they acclimate to your presence and you become more attentive. There is a reason that sensory deprivation has been used for ages in order to stimulate altered states of consciousness. Right now we are in a constant state of sensory overload, and it is a serious threat to all forms of mysticism.
Try turning everything off and see how much it changes things. No phone, no computer, no television, no music. Try even no reading, no busy work, nothing. Take a walk and pay attention to the world around you, and the world within you. Sit at your shrine and just speak aloud to your gods, and then give Them space to respond. Remove the constant chatter of the modern world, and your internal chatter will begin to abate as well. Do this often enough, make room for Them in this way, and the results will be significant.