If ever there was an oxymoron, it is found in the phrase ‘sound of silence’. This silence is of course the silence ‘within’ the self, and the sound is more like an awareness, a feeling, of power of ones own being. The ‘sound of silence’ can have the profound effect of altering ones perceptions and perspectives of life.
It is the still and silent core of our being that provides our strength, stability and the ultimate sense of security, much like the foundation of a building that makes it stable and secure on the ground. Just as we return home every day to rest, the central stillness and silence of our being is our spiritual home where we must return to rest, refresh and reinvigorate our spiritual energy. In today’s world, we habitually and constantly text, video-share, make phone calls and exchange emails with thoughts, emotions, experiences and desires, thereby drowning our awareness of still and silent self by these ‘noises’. To feel truly stable and secure, we must stop drowning ourselves and return to stillness and silence. The practice of ‘being in silence’, of consciously emptying our awareness of all forms of noise, is essentially the practice of meditation. Meditation is the foundation of mastering our mind, healing our heart and accessing our conscience.
A Silent Mind: Self-talk is the incessant mental distractions and noise of all the inner conversations that we have in our heads with ourselves and with others based our identity we created out of our actions, relationships and environment. It’s not difficult to calm your mind and move into a quieter state. Sit in a quiet place and practice being an ‘observer’ of your own thoughts. As soon as you ‘notice’ a ‘train of thought’, come back to your ‘observer’ status. Next, observe the space between your thoughts. It’s small at first but as you continue to be an ‘observer’ of your own thoughts, gradually, the space will expand with silence. That silent space is the silent power of your being; truly knowing your self.
A Silent Heart: When you know your self, you cease to crave and search outside for love in the form of the attention, acceptance and approval of others. With this awareness, the noise of desire and attachment subsides, emotional upheaval dissolves and the heart returns to its natural quiet radiant state and giving of itself, without prejudice, to all who are present. Sit quietly and watch your feelings. Next, consciously choose to be at peace. Allow any other distracting thoughts and feelings to pass. Return to choosing to ‘feel’ peaceful. Practice with immense patience! Notice that when you are at peace, there is an intention to give, to share, to connect.
A Silent Conscience: The deepest resource of the self, of the spirit that we are, is an innate awareness of truth, also referred to as ‘conscience’, it is the quiet voice that speaks to us from deep within our being and guides us through our life. Only when the mind is calm and the heart is at peace, are we able to hear this voice and allow its gentle guidance to shape our thoughts and decisions. Sit quietly and calm the mind, allow your peace to fill your heart and place a question before your conscience. And then listen for a response. Once again persistent patience and practice are essential. There will be a response, often when you have stopped wanting it and when you least expect it! It is a window into our wisdom, and it is a state in which we can know how infinitely powerful we are!
Action: Practice each of the three levels of silent being once every day, all next week.
Adapted from Mike George’s article, The Sound of Silence© 2010