Sometimes, there’s nothing more to say.
Sometimes, things just are as they are. And they will be talked about, and they will be described – but the more talking and describing occurs, the clearer it becomes that such talking and describing is superfluous.
We are so good, with our science and our critical thought, at always finding new things: new perspectives, new ways to press on, new solutions to problems, new ways to make the unbearable, bearable.
And yet, somewhere deep down inside, we all know that there are moments when no answer exists. And very often, that terrifies us.
I’m not, however, just talking about moments like when a loved one dies suddenly, for example. This is the terrifying aspect of things. But I’m also talking about times when we don’t know what to do or where to go, and we get terrified – and yet things aren’t so terrible. Or even those times when a moment is so good that we are afraid we’ll lose it if we don’t take control and define it by speaking about it.
In a society of constant revolution and stimulation, we become accustomed to thinking that when there is a void, it must be filled. It’s always filled! That’s just how things go when society is functioning at its most optimal. You never go a moment without actually doing something, even if what you’re doing is sleeping. Even this is considered doing something. And sure, we will wait for things sometimes, but only if that waiting can be considered productive, an inevitable part of the process of moving forward to the thing that we are waiting for.
So when there is no apparent way forward, no immediate answer to the question “what’s next?” it’s easy to get really really scared. This whole blog is dedicated to exploring the various ways that we can go forward, be positive, and get to the next level. Progressive thought breeds a hunger, a desire to know what is coming next – or, at the very least, that there is something that is coming next – preferably something that is at least somewhat predictable.
Though the vast majority of the time there is a way forward (and usually many more ways than just one), there are a few times in life when a situation momentarily has no next step. Death is the big one – “the great leveler,” as my dad likes to call it. But more often, it’s something on a much smaller scale, like somebody’s anger towards you, for example. If somebody is angry at you and has no desire to talk to you about it, or let you be a part of dealing with that anger, it may become something that you just have to accept. Particularly if you live with the person and cannot simply get away. You have to become at peace with the fact that that’s just how things are, and there’s no bettering the situation in the moment.
Another situation like that is intense pain, especially certain kinds of unavoidable physical pain that won’t go away. Sometimes, there is nothing, at a specific moment, that you can say or do. You just have to coexist with what is.
And then sometimes – there’s the embrace. A hug. A gesture which speaks to parts of us that crave communication, like no words can.
The upshot of all this is that half of the change you want to see that allows for a “next step” starts with you being able to stop and soak up the full meaning of the present. Though you have no control over when or where the next step will make itself known, you have some say in how you relate to what is going on now. BUT when you can see an ever-diminishing return on investment each time you try to push forward, that’s when you will know that there is nothing more to say. The best way to relate to the present, in such moments, is not to expect it to move forward. It will move forward when it’s ready.
Learn to understand this when smaller inevitabilities happen, and you will be way better prepared for the bigger ones. And your silence will flow like poetry.