Practicing silence is one of the most effective ways to reconnect with your true nature, to connect with your surroundings and to calm the mind. It is a rare gift when we allow ourselves to be silent in body and mind and one that expands our opportunity to live in the present moment. I have found nothing that can replace the fullness and richness arising from silence, but silence.
A gift – to hear and feel your own breath, to witness the ever-busy mind pausing for a rest, to feel your own pulse vibrating from within, to be still and observe all that you are – it is in this stillness, this quietness that we’re reminded of our essence and of the preciousness of life. This is what is real. This is what is true.
There are several ways to practice silence. One is to not speak any words but to continue to allow your mind it’s freedom to wander. This is not the silence of which I speak. The other is to quiet both your speech and your mind, allowing room for real quietude, moments of which are more refreshing than many a nights sleep!
How to Practice Silence
- To start, make a commitment to a period of time, as in 30 minutes a day for a week. Or 15 minutes a day for a month, etc.. The more you practice the easier it will get and the sooner you’ll realize the benefits.
- Pick the same time every day if possible – after lunch for 15 minutes; when you first get into your car after your work day; just before bedtime, etc.. Consistency is the key and working a regular time slot into your schedule will allow you to have more success with your practice.
- Make sure there are no distractions. No one vying for your attention, turn off your cell phone, radio, and all controllable sounds. In the beginning, the quieter the better although, once you understand the practice you’ll be able to find “silence” right in the middle of NYC.
- Focus on your breath. Breathing in…..slowly, and breathing out. Breathing in and out allowing your breath to slow down. Count to five on your inhale, and five on your exhale making sure both the inhale and exhale are even.
- Just stay focused on your breath and if your mind wanders, bring it back to your breath. Every time you notice yourself wondering what’s for dinner, or where you’re going on your next vacation, or whether or not you left the teapot on the stove, just bring your mind back to your breath…..breathing in, and breathing out.
- Now, bring your attention to the center of your chest (located at your heart.) Breathe into this place feeling it expand and contract. Expand and contract. Notice and feel your own heartbeat. Imagine the pulse of your heartbeat expanding throughout your entire body. Let this pulse fill your entire being.
- Practice this for your designated time and then bring your awareness back to where you are. Notice the silence that surrounds you. Notice how calm you feel. Notice how fulfilled you feel.
- Go about your day……but silently if possible.
Practicing silence is about quieting your mind most definitely, but it is also about not always having the radio, TV or i-pod on. It is about not always speaking when what you have to say isn’t very important. It’s about cherishing the sounds of nature. It’s about being awake and alive in your own body.
Confuscius says: “Silence is a true friend who never betrays.”
I hope through practicing silence you will find this to be true.