‘Silence is not the absence of sound, but the presence of an inward-listening awareness.’ – Maria Popova
In this day and age, many of us are excessively surrounded by noise. We’re being exposed to news, entertainment and a constant stream of technological communication, like never before. Most of us become a little numb to all of this on a conscious level – but that doesn’t mean that we’re not being impacted within our subconscious or energetic spheres.
There are a few perfect remedies for this, one of the most important being: Silence.
A concept backed by modern science, this healing tool has been intentionally used within monastic and spiritual traditions for thousands of years. Not only is silence the absence of chaos and noise… it’s the entry point to accessing our inner worlds. Beyond this beautiful fact, there are countless other major benefits that we’ve listed below.
Silence Shows Us Where We are
There’s a reason why silent meditation courses, or other similar practices seem so daunting. Lots of us fear silence, whether consciously or not, for its ability to show us the truth of where we are. We all know (or are) those people, who can’t have the radio, phone or TV off for even a moment.
In undistracted silence, our inner voices become louder… and this can be an amazing tool. When we’re in our own company we have no choice but to really sit with our present reality, our pasts, actions, thought patterns and belief systems. Any practice that involves introspection and reflection will lead to increased self-awareness – and that is a wonderful thing.
Try it for yourself! Why not take ten minutes for yourself in silence. Notice the sense of peaceful detachment that comes from observing your day. What did you do today? Were your actions coming from love? Apathy? Frustration or joy?
It Refines Our Expression
There’s no denying that words are a beautiful thing. Language grants us the ability to express our essence, our feelings and thoughts. Equally possible, they can create illusion. They can become one of our biggest barriers to our authenticity – creating masks and veiling our true selves.
By adopting a daily silent practice, we can rewire our relationship to language. We can develop a sensitivity to the value of each word we speak, and therefore over time, a transformed sense of authentic expression. It will become much easier (and natural) to stay consciously silent, rather than to thoughtlessly expend negative energy through hurtful words, gossip or untruths.
Silence Sometimes Says It All
We’ve all perhaps had an experience, where staying quiet said more than any words could.
Writer, artist, composer and Zen Buddhism scholar John Cage reflects this idea wonderfully in his anecdote about a New York taxi driver:
‘One day I got into one and the driver began talking a blue streak, accusing absolutely everyone of being wrong. You know he was full of irritation about everything, and I simply remained quiet. I did not answer his questions, I did not enter into a conversation, and very shortly the driver began changing his ideas and simply through my being silent he began, before I got out of the car, saying rather nice things about the world around him.’
Sometimes it’s through silence that we best transmit the calmness, empathy and kindness that sits within the centre of our souls.
Birthplace of Creativity
‘The impulse to create begins… in a tunnel of silence.’ – Adrienne Rich
Silence can be used as a creative force. We’ve experienced this with focused work, but even the random nature of creativity is stilted by conversation.
You may have heard of ‘flow state,’ a term introduced by positive psychology. It refers to that amazing feeling we’ve all had, of being ‘in the zone.’ It’s where we’re fully immersed (and enjoying!) the process of an activity and completely absorbed. That ‘flow’ of creativity seems to be accessed in a space beyond chatter, mundane concerns and distraction. This is where silence comes in. At a certain point, silence has the ability to take us above and beyond the rest, to comfortably enter this beautifully creative realm.
So… feeling the call of Silence? If the above resonated at all, now could be the perfect time to dive deeper into yourself. We invite you to join us for one of our powerful (technology-free!) Journey Into Stillness retreats.
Nisha is a freelance writer and Vedic astrologer, based in the magical Byron Hinterlands. As well as running her candle business, her life and loves involve: yoga, gardening and all things esoteric. You’ll find her out in nature, or curled up at home with a good book. Happy Buddha is one of her most treasured places on earth (and indeed where she met her fiancé!).