Silence is a powerful inner resource. One way of observing silence is by refraining from communicating through words or gestures, and opening your awareness to the interconnectedness and unity of all that surrounds you. When I observe silence, I feel great solace and calmness. Silence alters my perceptions and makes order out of chaos. This is called silent meditation.
The practice of silent or mantra meditation is another way of being silent. It allows you tap into that silence between your thoughts for greater access to your true Self. Lessening the chatter and quieting the mind is needed to be able to tune-in and listen on a deeper level. Sparks of inspiration, creative potentials, and happiness are found in the silence.
Observing silence, known as Mauna in Sanskrit, is a way of transforming the mind. I enjoy leading and attending retreats to observe silence, to devote time for self-reflection and contemplation. It’s inspiring to be with a group of people without feeling the need to talk and yet feel a deep spiritual connection with everyone.
I recall one of my first 5-day silent retreats and how the week unfolded for me. For the first hours of silence, my mind was jumping around in mental talk with myself and then calmed down after I silently meditated. It was easier to observe silence when surrounded by nature – hills, forest and ocean – easier to stay present and engage the senses – easier to connect with the creative source. Being guided in specific awareness opening activities also helped.
Settling in to the practice of ‘being’ along with meditating silently four times a day, I found myself thinking less about the past and future – the people, things and day-to-day scenarios of everyday life. There was simplicity in not holding on to anything and just allowing myself to be, letting go of the “me” aspect. Being with myself was connecting on a deeper level, turning my attention to the inner voice from within for insights.
I was smiling a lot with gratitude and love for everything in my life. God was everywhere in everything. I was seeing and feeling the interwoven relationship of all things. There were a few brief moments where I was hearing music and realized it was not coming from out in nature, it was coming from inside of me. All the external noises and sounds no longer seemed important. After 5 days of silent meditation, I felt so amazing and peaceful.
The following are 7 guidelines in observing silence.
1. Choose a day and length of time you will observe silence. Let pertinent family members know your intentions so they are supportive.
2. Refrain from: Talking; emailing or texting; accessing the Internet; watching TV; and listening to music, the radio or other people’s conversations. Do not read the news or non-spiritual literature. Resist gesturing in place of words as a way of communicating.
3. Meditate to calm and quiet the mind while expanding your awareness.
4. Experience each moment as it is without trying to analyze or explain it.
5. Be in the present moment and practice mindfulness with gratitude.
6. You may read inspirational or spiritual literature – readings that support your silence.
7. Journal your insights or impressions of your experience.
When you begin you may feel restless. This is natural. Be easy and do not judge yourself. Let go of any serious approach towards this practice. Have fun being with your Self. Are you ready to practice the art of observing silence?
Jan Kinder, RN, HN-BC, CMT – a leader in holistic nursing, mind body health and vibrational medicine, is an internationally recognized speaker/keynote, workshop presenter, personal consultant, healing practitioner and author. She is among the first certified Chopra Center instructors, and Dr. Deepak Chopra says, “Jan Kinder has dedicated herself to heal, to love, to transform and to serve others. She is an inspiration to those around her.”