Seijaku is Japanese for “silence”. According to my host Eri, it’s a poetic word that combines two kanji: 静 (calm, quite, peaceful) and 寂 (lonely).
So far the hardest thing about WWOOF has been the silence. The main reason I went on this trip was to quite my mind – I knew it would be a challenge, but underestimated how hard it would be on a mental level.
Normally I gorge myself on stimuli: watching TV while I eat, listening to podcasts while I clean, reading on the subway, listening to music in the gym, etc. There is a constant flow of *stuff* into my brain, mostly so I don’t have to deal with my own thoughts, full of anxiety and regret.
Taking all that noise away all at once is highly disorienting. Couple that with lack of sleep and repetitive manual labor and things get even tougher. I’ve decided to ease my way into it – I continue to check Facebook and I listen to audibooks sometimes, when I’m particularly tired or bored – but my goal is to cut all of that out.
I want to be ok with silence.