Life, Spirituality: Recent Highlights
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Turning Aside

All monastic life centers around silence and solitude. These twin blessings are also the essence of a writer’s life. Writers need silence and solitude in huge chunks.  However, in an increasingly noisy world dominated by cell phones, mp3s, tablets and social media, we are barraged by constant stimulation.

The renowned psychologist Wayne Edward Oates developed a technique called turning aside, which helps one find silence within even in the midst of turbulence. Turning aside means removing your focus from the chaos around you and shifting your focus upon a small object. Giving the small object your hundred percent attention trains the mind to shut off all the noise and chaos around you, and in time all that will matter to you will be the object of your focus. It is as though the noisy world simply recedes into the background.

This exercise can be done anywhere and at anytime. It’s a great exercise for writers. I’ve practiced turning aside for many years. My brother taught me how to shut off the noise around me and fully focus on my intention or what I am doing.  Turning aside aka shutting off  has helped me find the silence within so that even if I am in the midst of a noisy crowd, I can enter into the silent chambers of my being and write.

1 Comment

  1. This definitely is a very interesting and useful tip…in this cacophony of sound surrounding us it becomes real tough to keep one engaged in creative thinking…yes as a writer we need solitude and the silence to build our thoughts. In today’s world invaded by technology and accompanied by music, noise and chaos and complexity…there is an increase need for simplicity and silence to nurture the art of creative thinking.

    I will definitely try and practice this very useful method which is so imperatively needed to mitigate the disturbance and distraction engulfing us.

    Let me enter the silence chamber and will share my experience…thanks for sharing the idea…


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