How Often Do You Notice What’s Missing?

Lake MichiganI meditate for 20 minutes most mornings right after I get out of bed. I sit in my ugly brown La-Z-Boy recliner and practice mindful meditation using Insight Timer. This morning I got up and went for a run first thing. It was the first solo run I’ve had this year. When I got back, I was too hot and sweaty to sit in my La-Z-Boy, so I sat in a lawn chair on the deck to meditate. That’s when it hit me that something was missing — silence!

I love living downtown. It’s walkable. It’s vibrant. The neighborhoods are more like the one I grew up in. But downtown is never quiet. Over time, we all become accustomed to the noise and don’t notice the trains, and traffic, and sirens, and animals and insects that create the background noise to our lives. Sometimes though, I get a sudden feeling that something is missing. When I have the time to consider the thought I can often come up with what it is. That feeling led me to realize that I’ve been missing silence. Then all of the silent moments I had during my 45 days riding across the country went flashing thru my mind. I really missed the silence then.

All of this is a long way to say that there are often things missing in our lives that have  been missing for so long that we can’t identify what they are. We just recognize a feeling of loss that seems generic. There are no generic losses. If you’re missing something, it is something specific. Examine that feeling. Sit with it in a quiet place — as quiet as you can find anyway. When the loss becomes more specific, follow it. Find out when and where you lost it. Then go back there, even if it’s only in your mind. Revisit what you’ve lost. Just like I went out and found some silence.

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