The Power of the Pause

by Filip Van Houte -

Life goes fast. The speed at which the world is currently evolving is astonishing. The new digital age is bringing forth a lot of options and possibilities. There are endless new goals and activities to stimulate the mind.

Nowadays people seem to be too busy with being busy. We have to make an appointment to make an appointment. We want to control our control. We want to structure our structure.

In the past boredom was a problem. Now it’s not knowing what to choose.

But do we ever stop to enjoy the fruits of our labor? We have to be productive, right? Taking a break wastes time. We got to move forward. …. Or not?

A Tribute to the Pause and the Silence that Speaks so Loudly

There are essential qualities to the pause you might not know about. Maybe a pause is exactly what you need.

"Don’t just do something, stand there."
–Buddhist Saying 

Here are 7 unknown qualities of the pause.​

1. It cultivates meditation and reflection

Isn’t the pause the essence of meditation? Dealing with boredom and watching the thoughts arise that try to keep your mind occupied. The pause allows. It doesn’t judge. You become the observer. This allows you to see through your mental patterns. You gain insights from a different perspective.

The pause lets us face our deeper inner world. Our anxieties, impulses, gut feelings, dreams, passions, goals. It’s like a glass of muddy water. Once it’s still, the dust settles and things become clear.

Pausing withdraws us from the world outside and make us look inward. It throws us back on ourselves to clean out all the garbage and nonsense that is going on in your head. We develop a deeper understanding of ourselves and our habitual reactions to our thinking.

You break free from the conditioned addiction to thinking, planning and doing. We allow ourselves to be, let thoughts arise and float by without judging them.

"Meditation puts meaningful content into a pause."
–Rollo May 

2. It is vital for creativity

Pausing is the first cousin of creativity. It makes room and time for fresh ideas to arise. They were already in the background, but now they can come to the forefront. After a period of intense focus on something, you can set the thought free when you give it an open space.

Creativity comes not only out of our moments or hours or weeks of effort. It requires – and this is essential – the moments or hours or weeks of pause between the effort.

"The interval between events is not unimportant, just like you don’t hear melodies until you hear the interval between tones." –Alan Watts 

You had this before, right? You’ve been thinking about something for a long time and you have this sudden realization. It seems to come out of nowhere. But it was there all along, just under the surface, waiting uncover.

3. It is the prerequisite of wonder

A basic attitude in pausing is an openness to whatever happens. And this creates the opportunity to wonder. We can only marvel and wonder when we stop and take a break. 

Looking in the night sky at the stars, watch a beautiful sunset, experiencing your surroundings and possibilities. The pause creates a gap that fills up with new and fresh impressions.

We sacrifice the richness of wonder when we don’t stand still and look deeper.

4. It is necessary for any growth

Pausing often gets confused with doing nothing. But don’t muscles only grow when we rest? Isn’t that the essence of sleep? Refreshing, consolidating, healing, imagining … exactly what a pause allows.

It is a cycle of expansion and contraction. You need to spent energy to expand, but you need also need to recharge energy to build it up again.

Every growth process needs plateaus. Growth is never linear. When you climb a mountain you don’t immediately climb the next one. You sit down, enjoy the view and get a new perspective.

5. You get to the essence

A pause will silence the mind and silence will bring forth an opportunity to pause. We live in a loud society. There is so much communication, distraction and noise. It’s hard to stay focused in such an environment.

So sometimes you need to get away and figure out your essential needs. That happens when you take a movement to breathe and let it all sink in. And the less stimulation you have around you, the more you get down to the essence.

6. You get in touch with your intuition

Intuition is a non announced voice. It is an innate knowing that is absent of serious attachment to the knowing. Intuition does not compete like the ego does. The ego competes for you to listen to it.

Intuition doesn’t’ feel that need and it is quiet. Until we pause and silence our ego minds there is no way to get in touch with our intuition.

7. It reduces stress

People stress out by their overactive ‘flight-or-fight response’. That’s can be exhausting. We are in less physical danger than ever before, but our mind doesn’t make a difference between a real and a perceived threat.

Our mental preoccupations keep us engaged. In this digital age with more and more stimulation and distraction, we have to find ways to counter this. Pausing is a way to keep track of ourselves.

That is the power of the pause … the silence that speaks so loudly.

About Author: Filip van Houte is the creator of Tips for a Better Life. Writer, teacher, eternal student and alchemist of ideas. Loves to travel inside the mind and outside in the world. On a mission to discover the balance between activity and passivity, sensuality and spirituality, self-acceptance and self-development. Looking to create a strong, passionate community with meaningful relationships that helps us build a better version of ourselves.

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