I am sure you can come up with a catalog of stories when you failed to pause for a few moments before formulating the right response when addressing your parents, a teacher, even your boss. Even right now you are being reminded of a “stupid remark” you wish you could take back but you can’t; it’s been released into the atmosphere, received by another party and adjudicated as a flaw in your character. This failure is often times attributed to a lack of “pause” before we speak and act. Even a series of inappropriate comments and actions can ruin a person’s reputation, which will take time to mend. Pause is crucial for life or anyone desiring more of a leadership role. Dictionary.com defines pause as a temporary stop or rest, especially in speech or action, or a cessation of activity because of doubt or uncertainty; a momentary hesitation. Let’s take the term a little further to add that a “pause” has a reason more than just a momentary lapse. A pause is crucial because it gives you an opportunity to stop and think intently to capture wisdom before you speak or engage in a certain behavior.
The discipline of a pause is crucial for anyone desiring collegial respect. I am sure you have been in those meetings when your boss is addressing a critical organizational issue, and afterward, with penetrating eyes he or she looks around the room mining for someone’s wisdom. If wisdom does not come forthrightly you feel the pressure to speak the first thing that comes to your mind. Pause, therefore, is difficult to come by because we are accustomed to burst out a response even if it’s the wrong one. Fast is not always better; it’s imperative for you to take a moment to pause and reflect to gain a much deeper insight about the issue at hand. Pause allows you to…
Capture wisdom’s extremes
In the wisdom literature of the Old Testament, specifically in the book of Psalms, the term Selah usually appears after a sentence or paragraph. For instance, Psalm 4:4 notes: “Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Selah.” The word Selah is a technical musical term probably showing accentuation, pause, and interruption; silence.[i] A simple yet succinct explanation comes from an article written by Tony Warren called What Does Selah Mean? Warren notes, “Selah, [celah], is from the primary Hebrew root word [calah] which literally means ‘to hang,’ and by implication to measure (weigh). This is readily understood because in Biblical history, money, food and other valuables were ‘weighed’ by hanging or suspending them on a type of balance (the equivalent of our measuring scale) to determine their value.”[ii]
So one can deduct from Warren’s research that Selah is taking a momentary pause to weigh and measure something that is said to determine its worth, and the perceived measured outcome if adopted in life. The purpose of Selah is to draw out and capture the extremes of wisdom before we speak or act on something so that we gain an advantage from its ultimate value. This is a perfect example of a pause at work.
James, the sage of age in the first century, reminds us in his epistle to “be quick to listen and slow to speak.” He has reasons for this time-tested axiom. If we follow his advice we should be better equipped to walk in success. To be profound is to say something that is extraordinary; not like the conventional wisdom of this world. A pause allows a person access into another realm of thought and insight where one can unearth gems yet undiscovered; a place where wisdom abides and awaits to be captured. Have you ever heard someone speak and wonder where he or she got his or her wisdom? People who are insightful take the time to ponder, meditate, and excavate for deeper insights.
So the next time you consider blurting out the first thing that comes to your mind, think again for a short period of time. A website states the following, “It only takes a minute to change your life. That’s a one-minute pause, 60 seconds to stop, think and consider the impact of your actions. A pause is a delay, a breather, a suspended reaction. A pause is about finding time to get the facts, and using those facts, not impulses, to help make decisions.” Pause, therefore, is not a difficult process but simply taking an extra minute to step back, think and to go deeper. For the end purpose of a “pause” is to gain critical insight so one can speak profound sayings using only a few words. – Selah
What can you do to improve your “pause”?
1. Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for celah (Strong’s 5542)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2010. 1 Mar 2010. < http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?
2. What Does Selah Mean by Tony Warren. http://www.mountainretreatorg.net/faq/selah.html, Accessed on March 1, 2010.
3. Pause: http://www.fox.com/pause