The Silent Intervention

The Silent Intervention

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There is great power in the void of silence.

At times, it can be far harder to say or do nothing, than it is to say or do something. We are often too quick to react and to act, rather than just ‘let things be’.

There is such a call  to take effective action in this world, but the older and wiser I get, the more I think that ‘effective inaction’ can hold even more power.

I do see the signs. The surgeon who sees more surgery than is actually necessary. The lawyer who sees more legal work than is required. The parent who parents more than is needed. The government that governs too much. And seeing these correlations, I must examine my own life and reflect: what is it, in my identity, that I do too much of?

What would happen if we chose not to engage in our conversations, in our communities, in our world? Would we end up with a better, or worse, result?

What if we just helped to make space for people, rather than followed our desire to fill the space, or fill the silence?

For me, there is a strong link between fear and intervention. The fight, flight or freeze responses are all primitive ‘stimulus-responses’ to threat and fear. It’s no coincidence that such reflexes are called ‘knee-jerk reactions’. But what if we didn’t allow fear to control us? Perhaps if we all learnt to deal with our own fears, we would intervene far less.

I have to admit that this is a line of thinking for me, rather than something I am particularly good at putting into practice.

For myself, I ponder that the best kind of intervention is, more often than not, no intervention at all. A silent intervention.

I would love to know your thoughts on this in the comments section below.

To silence.

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  1. Hi Marc,
    I’m in my late 50’s and I am only just learning to ‘let it be’ I have spent all my life in the caring professions, intervening. I am probably guilty of being the sort of parent who stepped in too early and didn’t allow my kids to make their own mistakes due to an over developed sense of duty to intervene and make everything better. I have only just, these last few years begun to understand that sitting in quiet contemplation is not ‘lazy’ or ‘unproductive’ but is actually essential for health, happiness and a productive life. Also – sometimes the best help we can give another is to listen and do nothing – just be there.

  2. Marc, as a mother, doctor, teacher, wife, daughter and friend, I would have to agree that in almost every situation I can think of, silence is often the most effective and least damaging intervention. That’s not to say that action is not required, but action that grows out of silent contemplation can be much more powerful and effective than a fear-fuelled reaction. Thank you as always for reminding us of the simple things in life and the beauty of spending more time in “the quiet place”.

  3. Truer words have never been spoken. Thank you mark .. Posted thoughts on LinkedIn .. Thank you

  4. Was going to say something, but…..

  5. I agree. Look at the dominant capitalistic system, this global industrial civilisation which is “destroying” this earth. It’s actually destroying itself. Stop fighting huge Dams being built, stop fighting huge factories poisoning the rivers or forests being cut down. These actions will stop once the entire system breaks down and an angry nature destroys it. So focus on building self sufficient communities, embrace the old ways, create your own arc and after the “flood” has cleansed this earth, build up a new civilisation infused with the wisdom of the old ways.

  6. Kellie Brooks says

    When asked about the best advice she ever got, Amanda Palmer replied, “Say less.”
    I’m practicing this.

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