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The Sound of Silence by David Fischman

The Sound of Silence

David Fischman, Author of The Secret of the Seven Seeds

At an International Leadership Congress in Washington, I was enticed by its attractive title to attend a lecture on Spirit, silence, and reflection in leadership. Surprisingly, the lecture hall was full: more than fifty PhDs from the best American universities were keen to learn more about silence and the spirit. They all commented on the importance of silence in leadership. They regarded it as a key part of leadership training.

What is silence? It is leaving our daily activity and sitting down for a while alone with ourselves. It is having a moment to stop doing and to start being. It is a space where we can look for our true identity. It is leaving aside our roles our profession, our role in the family, our role as a friend, our culture and religion to get into contact with the only thing left at the end: our spirit.

It is not easy. When we enter silence, the first challenge is to ignore the sounds around us: cars, people, birds, and other sounds. We can do this with a bit of concentration; thats the easy part. It is more difficult to ignore our own internal noise, our thoughts. Try right now. Sit in silence for a few minutes, and you will see how a rainstorm of thoughts will drench your mind with worries for the future or preoccupations from the past.

Why should we enter silence when there is so much to be done? Its like the story of the person who comes across a lumberjack sawing a tree down in the forest. When he sees the lumberjack moving his saw to and fro, over and over, without cutting anything because the saw is blunt, he asks: Why dont you stop and sharpen your saw? The lumberjack replies: I cant stop, I have lots of trees to cut. Entering into silence is sharpening our saw. It is surprising what we gain by stopping doing things. Although our culture orients us increasingly to action, it is when we stop doing things that we improve as individuals. Its like trying to get into a room whose door opens outward, by pushing it inward. We could spend all day pushing, trying to force the door open, but the door wont budge. Its the same with inner happiness. It is difficult to find it by pushing; we need to stop and find the mechanism to open the door to let happiness in. Entering silence helps us understand how to open the door to happiness.

Some people dont enter silence because they are scared of what they will find inside themselves. This fear leads them to make sure they are surrounded by people all the time, in social gatherings, or on the phone. Nobody for company? They put the TV on. They go in for everything that will prevent them from being alone with themselves. It is true that being in silence confronts you with yourself, and if you dont want to see what there is in the mirror of your mind, this can be an uncomfortable experience.

However, once we get past this stage and are able to sit in silence for half an hour every day, we will find huge benefits. We will start feeling a special kind of peace and tranquility. We will feel that we are connected with the all. As the PhDs at the conference said, silence gives you distance and perspective, and it is vital for leadership. You do not react to problems negatively; on the contrary, you keep your peace of mind and you make better decisions. Every day at the office we are in a jungle full of problems, and sometimes we lose our way and dont know where to go. When we enter silence, we rise to the tallest treetop, and from there we have a panoramic view and we can see our route clearly. In silence we hear a sound that guides us to our destination.

David Fischman, Author of The Secret of the Seven Seeds

On November 21st David Fischman and a group of the worlds leading experts are sharing their response to What is the secret of success? as a bonus offering for anyone who invests in one copy of The Secret of the Seven Seeds.

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