Henry David Thoreau, who after spending a year and a half in quiet solitude at Walden Pond certainly earned the right to expound on silence, talks about the necessity to shake off the village as a means of connecting to your inner wisdom.
Thoreau also underscored the importance of having a sacred place, or what he referred to as a sanctum sanctorum. The sanctity of silence is essential in helping the Right Risk-taker to stand apart from the world, in order to make sense of it.
Ultimately the choice of whether to take a risk resides solely with you and no one else. While the opinions of others should be taken into consideration, you are the one who has to be most comfortable with your risk decision.
Having a sacred place will help you shut out the world long enough to compare, contrast, and perhaps integrate your own opinions about the risk with the opinions of others. Though the actual location of your sacred space should be picked by you, I ﬁnd such places as an empty church, peaceful garden, and local library to be luxuriously silent.
In his wonderfully insightful book The Courage To Create, Rollo May writes about the constructive use of solitude. Like Thoreau, May advises that we periodically disengage from the world and let solitude work for us and in us.
Silence helps us relax so that insights and intuitions can break through. The constructive use of solitude is not passive silence but receptive silence. We see this receptivity in the artist waiting for inspiration, the writer staring out the window, and the athlete focusing before the contest. It is the attentive silence of listening, not just for words, but also for indications from our intuition about the actions we should take.
Silence takes discipline because it requires being alone, something that seems increasingly difﬁcult for people to do. Yet the rewards for doing so are clear.
In silence, we strengthen the connection to our inner wisdom, heighten our awareness, and become more exacting in our decision-making. Silence helps us become more clearheaded about what we need to do and why we need to do it. When we sit with silence long enough, we begin to hear and decipher the whispers of our soul. Right Risk-takers use silence to access the wealth – the gold – that resides inside them.
Photo Credit: Rennett Stowe