I was helping a friend who was getting her life coaching certification. She needed real people to work with in order to get the mandated hours she needed. Always in search of new tools, I agreed to be her client. We started the process in Bermuda and it continued while I traveled. I remember I was in Kuala Lumpur for one of our Skype sessions. I had already mastered my commitment to exercising. I now needed to focus on my inner health and wellbeing.
My assignment was to be in silence for five hours. How hard could that be? I was alone in a country where I knew no one and I didn’t speak the language. This was a done deal.
I carefully chose the day I would experience heightened consciousness. I knew I could do this. I knew I would be that much wiser and more in touch with my inner essence by the end of the five hours.
That morning I got up and went for breakfast. It was buffet so I didn’t have to talk. Hold on, how do I order coffee? I had to get coffee. So I delayed my silence start. After I signed my tab, my silence clock began.
This was the day I had also decided to do a tour of Kuala Lumpur. It was an on and off bus. Each stop you could get off or stay on the bus. I was two hours into the tour. All was going well. I was on the top deck, experiencing the city, listening to what was going on around me. I was in silent bliss. Then some folk sat behind me. I felt a tap on my shoulder and they asked where I got the city map.
Like I said, I was two hours into the silence experience. Did I open my mouth and tell them where they could find the map or pretend I didn’t understand? I was compelled to speak. I couldn’t help myself, I told them.
Damn! The end of my silence. I couldn’t do it for more than two hours? This was not good. I hadn’t discovered my inner calm, I hadn’t focused on my breath, I hadn’t quietened my mind and become a genius.
With a sigh, I got off the bus and headed back to my hotel. Clearly the only way I could discover zen in Kuala Lumpur was to sit in my room and be in silence.