Just a Little Peace and Quiet

-by Michelle Graham

In reflecting on the many things that I heard from Robert Ennis when he was alive and I was a student of his, one in particular comes to mind. I remember Robert saying that if for no other reason, doing practice can allow one to finally get some peace and quiet from the incessant chatter of the android.

The android chatter sometimes reminds me of how television news programs seem to operate: they give you some provocative questions to think about, and tell you to keep tuning in to find out more. “Can vitamins really help to slow the aging process? Find out when we return, as we talk to doctors about some of the new scientific research on vitamins and your health.” “How safe will you be in the next earthquake? Find out next, as we show you the latest geological fault maps and talk to experts about what this may mean for you and your family.” Sometimes I have seen myself go to bed an hour or two later than I had planned, just because I got hooked into some of those. That is how my android seems to operate, one question after another, that all seem so important for me to stay tuned to so I can figure them out as soon as possible in order to have a better life in some way.

I remember when I first started noticing that I could have some of the peace and quiet from the android chatter that Robert had talked about. It wasn’t that the android’s noise went completely away, or even that I pushed it away. It was more that I could kind of float above it to where it got much quieter and the real life events around me became more intense. I began to notice it for some reason when I was running errands after work in the evenings. As I would go from the car to a store, or my home, I would start to tune in more to the sights and sounds of what was happening around me, and less to the thoughts in my head. It is kind of like when you realize the radio volume is very loud in your car, and you turn it down and everything seems very different. It was very different and very new for me to be able to have that kind of quiet amidst my normal daily life.

So what’s so good about a little quiet time? What I notice when this happens is that some part of me realizes that the android chatter is not really needed for me to accomplish anything, and something inside me that has been clinging to trying to figure something out loosens its grip, and then life feels more joyful and relaxed to me. Having some time with the android’s pursuit of answers quieted allows me to experience first-hand that life goes on fine even when the android chatter is not in control. In fact, life can be much more enjoyable that way.