The practice of silence is perhaps one of the tougher practices in this age of so much noise and chatter. To experience external silence, one has to make a concentrated effort to filter out the inputs that are clamoring for our attention. Even during sleep, noise surrounds us, even though some of us sound sleepers are fortunate to be blissfully unaware of it. Have you ever noticed that you wake up on some days feeling completely rested, while on others, you are still tired? Why is that?
One reason for the difference between a ‘sound’ sleep and an ‘unsound’ one is perhaps the amount of ‘internal noise’ that we may have experienced during the night. When we get ready to go to sleep after a particularly hectic, busy, noise-filled day, our brain has not had enough time during our waking state to fully process all the inputs that it received during the day. Our central processing unit, the brain, has only so much processing power. So, when overloaded, it tends to enqueue the unprocessed inputs. It is these excess, unprocessed inputs that the brain then processes during the night – in the very hours that we are physically at rest, but mentally wide awake!
And so we begin the next day, often to the sound of a jarring, noisy sounding alarm, which literally sets the tone for the day to come. And the cycle repeats itself, until the weekend, when we can (hopefully) take some time off from the treadmill of external chatter and noise. But the weekend is often not enough time to rest our body and mind, never mind the spirit. And so we look forward to the next vacation, or at least a three- or four-day weekend, to play catch-up, to truly feel physically, mentally, and spiritually rested again. I have a proposition.
What if we could vacate our mind-brain on a regular basis, every single day? Let us develop a practice, so that we actively immerse ourselves in silence at the beginning and end of every day. The moment that we wake up, we dive into silence. We may start with fifteen minutes, grow to thirty minutes, and then progress to an hour of morning silence. If we can be physically silent, then we have a better chance to be mentally silent. At the end of every day, laying in bed, what if we were to take a few minutes to be physically, and then mentally silent? How would the quality of sleep improve with this practice?
Once we can develop a practice to be mentally quiet when physically still at the beginning and end of every day, we can invoke that quiet state any time during the day. We can even invoke silence while in motion, even amidst the great noise of the world. And when we can be internally silent on demand, we have taken one giant step towards invoking peace, joy and lightness, no matter our external state of stimulus.
In the true depth of our inner silence, we discover our connectedness to the infinite. In silence, we discover that our heart has the capacity to be like the ocean that refuses no river. For it is in silence, that we can hear the message, the purpose, of the seed that was planted in us at birth.
P.S. Join us for our weekly conversation on twitter – Sunday, March 11th at 9amET/1pmUTC/6:30pmIndia. Please note that we shift to daylight savings time in my time zone this Sunday. The live hour of #SpiritChat will arrive an hour early for those not observing the one hour time-shift. Namaste!