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Silence is golden...

Paul MacCormack


All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone." —  Blaise Pascal

While reflecting on last weeks post, 'The Art of the Pause', it struck me that for most of us, deciding to sit still would be the easy part. What happens next becomes the real challenge. Try it right now. Just close your eyes and sit still for about a minute. I'll wait...

Uh, I'm somewhere where I don't know where I am." — Homer Simpson

Posted ImageHow long did you last before your mind started working? Did you make it even half a minute before your mind kicked in and started thinking about something? The greens? The last thing the GM said to you? The NHL strike is finally over?
Funny how it goes, really. The more we sit quietly, the more our mind rebels against us. Don't take it personally... not many of us were raised to respect our own inner stillness, or to even acknowledge that it exists.
Nowadays we are constantly bombarded with HBO, Facebook, email, Twitter, the marketing machine. They all conspire to keep us distracted and prevent us from learning how to turn off our minds for a while.
So whats a Greenkeeper to do? How do we battle back and even attempt to reclaim a bit of our silence? Here are a few tips

1. Turn it off

The great thing about computers, televisions, and cell phones is they all have an off button. Don't worry, you can dvr your favorite show and your Facebook friends will not desert you. Just pick some time each day, or even better challenge yourself to an entire day where you don't use technology. Just see how it goes.

2. Set your intention straight
Posted ImageWe can't accomplish anything in this life if we don't set ourselves on the right course before we begin something. Start out with the wise intention to commit to the habit... its okay; some habits are actually good for you.
3. Practice, Practice, Practice
Remember the first time you walk mowed greens? Pretty ugly?  Mowhawks and bananas by the bushel? Well, learning to sit quietly, like everything else worth doing in this world, takes a lot of practice. So go easy on yourself and stick to it.
4. Find a teacher
Whether its your local preacher, priest, guru or partner find someone who can help you along the way. There are lots of different methods for learning the art of meditation. Just Google it... something will turn up, I'm sure.
Do a little experiment this week. Sit still at some point in the day, even if only for five minutes (there is an app that will time you... trust me). See how you like it.
If it doesn't float your boat, so be it. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. But remember, the silence you seek could become your new best friend... and a relatively low maintenance one at that!

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In Chuck Palahniuk's book, Lullaby, the narrator gave us this gem: "Big Brother isn't watching, he's singing and dancing. He's pulling rabbits out of a hat. Big Brother's busy holding your attention every moment you're awake. He's making sure you're always distracted. He's making sure you're fully absorbed...and this being fed, it's WORSE than being watched. With the world always filling you, no one has to worry about what's in your mind. With everyone's imagination atrophied, no one will ever be a threat to the world."


I've always liked that and remind myself periodically to shut off the noise.

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