This week, on the occasion of the journalist Jesús Quintero’s death, the media highlighted his mastery of his use of silence, of his leisurely pace. This trait made me think about what the current role of silence is in our lives and our jobs, and the reason it is surprising to us that pauses were so important for Quintero. Silence, just like a well-chosen pause, is a truly powerful tool when we need time to think, to reflect about what we want or not want to say, to organize the most profound words and thoughts. And it is precisely because of this that it is an essential tool for communication and understanding, not just like the journalist used it, but also in a private way. Without that pause that often represents silence, we would not be able to understand ourselves nor those around us.
I also thought about how silence began making room for itself in my life, about what it means to learn to hold it and feeling comfortable with it. About what it meant for me to learn to use it to be present (rather than prepare an immediate future) and to listen without judging. That idea, the idea of silence as a chosen pause (which is quite different from other types of silence to which I am not referring in this column), can truly change our lives.
We all possess our own particular rhythm, but what we all have in common is that we need moments of reflection that neither the classrooms nor the media provide. This is why holding a pause as a part of a conversation with another person, with life itself, is an action as necessary (and radical) as is learning to listen (including to ourselves) with complete attention.