I grew up with a father who rewarded bad behaviour with days of silence. They went on forever and as a child you are clueless as to what you may have done to deserve this piercing negativity. It could have been any bad behaviour – a slammed door, a little backchat, shampoo bottles not being sealed, walking barefooted, TV left on, towels not aligned with the tiles. We would get a warning from my mother to put shoes on, turn telly off, make sure all bottles are in line. It was a subtle version of Hitler in the house. My mother also got punished for weeks for our bad behaviour.
When my dad was finally taken to a home, I sat through a psychiatric evaluation and I heard the doctor explain to his students about his illness and the side effects and how hard it would be to live with a person with so many issues in the upstairs department. I thought to myself… tell me something I don’t already know!
So silence to me was the unknown, pain, confusion, terror, guilt.
I realised that I had been looking all my life to fill the silence. I was addicted to company, to relationships, to anything that filled that void until I rammed myself into a wall.
I rammed myself so hard that my spirit must have left my body. This was the time to find the real silence and change the perspective I had of it. I had to learn how to be alone in silence with all the noises in my head that reminded me of terror, pain, guilt and confusion. Silence was unwarranted!
When I tried meditating for the first time, I thought I’d end up in a mental hospital (ha!).
Events from my past were fighting for attention… me first, me first! So instead of searching for another relationship, another being to fill my void of silence, I checked myself into India!
That was my mental institution for a while. I was alone with my ego, my thoughts, my past, my dad, his mental illness and all the aches that had to be dealt with, all the damage that I had caused myself with all that running!
So that was the start of the healthy, silent journey. However, despite all India and philosophy and practise in my life, I still find myself attracting people who punish me with silence.
This is, and will always be, the most excruciating thing that I will have to deal with for the rest of my life, however, the only difference now is that Yoga, meditation and prayer gave me a pair of balls that no bull can compete with. I look into silence with curiosity. I immerse myself in the pain. I get on my mat and breathe it out. I meditate so I can process the shouting in my head.
I face the fear. I jump into the river Ganga in full trust that it will take me to the right destination. I sit and listen to God trying to tell me when I am in the wrong situation and to please trust in him!