The “Being” State and Silent Time – Part 10
Hal and Sidra Stone
One of the extraordinary things about primary relationship is how little time people spend together in silence. Talking is fun, but it can also be one of the most effective ways there is of destroying intimacy. Most of us are identified with an action and doing principle.
The doing self always needs to be doing something. With another person, this would refer to talking or participating in some activity together. The opposite side of the doing self is the Being self. In “Being” energy, there is nothing to do except “be.” There is no place to go, nothing to plan, nothing to accomplish. There is nothingness, a void, and many people are quite terrified of this condition.
To “be” with another human being means just what it says. It means to be with someone with no agenda of any kind. There are often long periods of silence, or words may come, but they come from a different place in ourselves because there is no requirement that they come at all.
This condition of “beingness” can be painful for people because it is a condition of deep intimacy, and they feel really uncomfortable about this kind of closeness.
What we recommend is taking time to practice “being” together. This means just sitting together on a couch or two chairs and just looking at one another and allowing there to be silence. Getting used to silence can profoundly change the nature of relationship.
The reason for this is that in silence you tend to come to a more essential part of yourself. While in a “being” state it is natural for all kinds of thoughts and feelings to come up. Just share them with each other. It creates a kind of flow of association, a non-linear thought flow that is much fun and very relaxing, once you learn to get into it and move through the initial period of discomfort and even anxiety.
It is natural in relationships of all kinds to react immediately when someone reacts to you. There is almost an automatic response of “yes, but … “. These kinds of automatic responses do not allow you to take in fully the reactions of the other person. The being self allows you to receive the feelings and reactions of the other person without needing to automatically and immediately respond to them.
Sometimes we recommend to couples that they take turns practicing “active listening.” This means that if there are issues in the relationship, one person shares while the other person is silent but actively listening to what is being said until there is nothing else to say. Then, after yet a further period of silence, they reverse roles. In this way, couples can train themselves to live with silence and to better receive the feelings of the other person.
Words are connected to our more established patterns of thought and behavior and feeling. Silence opens us to the deeper aspects of ourselves.
In silence we feel our vulnerability, our tears, our sadness, our soul. To be together in silence is to create the possibility of a much more profound experience of intimacy.