As you progress on the spiritual path you will naturally find yourself speaking less and less.
You’ll come to see that, most of the time, spoken words are the vehicle of the ego.
I speak because I want to spread my thoughts and my beliefs. I want you to think and believe as I do.
I speak because I want you to think of me in a certain way, and so I choose words as a way to construct my social identity. If I can say something witty then I’ll be seen as having a good sense of humor. If I want to be seen as smart then I might say something like, “I read a recent study in the Harvard Business Review…” or “I think it was Nietzsche who first said…”
I love quoting Nietzsche. It’s the ultimate fist pump to the ego.
Sometimes I notice that I’m speaking for no other reason than to let people know I’m there — as a way to validate my existence.
“I’m here! I’m here and I have something to say!”
But eventually, amidst all this speaking, you come to realize that you’re rarely listening with all of your attention to what anyone else is saying. The ego is too busy formulating its next response.
It’s in this way that conversation so often degrades into a game of egos.
And so you play.
You play until you decide not to anymore.
And then you just listen.
And slowly you find your need to have an opinion on anything just…fall away.
And you’re not left with any strong opinions whatsoever. You can see both sides of every issue.
You’re just silent. You’re just listening. There’s nothing to say.
And yet, perhaps paradoxically, you come to find that you’ve never felt quite as present, as full, and as alive as you do in the silence.