10 Ways to Embrace the Power of Silence
"Let your beauty manifest itself without talking or calculation.
You are silent.
It says for you: I am.
And comes in meaning thousand fold,
comes at long last over everyone."
~ Rainer Maria Rilke
From the moment we rise in the morning, we are engulfed in external noise – the alarm clock buzzing, music blaring, coffee pot beeping. We live our lives amidst noise everywhere, and some of the most pressing and stressing sounds are the ones we live with internally. Our minds are filled with woven thoughts – always one after the next. The external commotion of our environment combined with the inner chatter of the mind leaves little room for us to truly experience silence.
But I think we can all agree that silence is a virtue, universally. It is as old as time. Before the world succumbed to the creation and bombardment of man-made sounds, the Universe was a vast, open space – where the only echoes you hear are tranquility and stillness. The beauty of silence is that it simply “is”. There is nothing artificial or engineered about it. Silence offers an opening that cannot be immediately defined -- an opportunity to take the time to unearth the mysteries and lessons that exist within.
Silence, however, does not come naturally for most of us. Especially in a modern today. We instinctively feel uneasy when there is an unexpected pause in a flow of action or motion. We have the uncomfortable habit of filling silent gaps with superficial talk. Or, we purposely avoid situations where noise is absent. We inherently fear it, as if one must develop an “acquired taste” to silence, or gain a special set of skills to learn to tolerate it.
It forces me to wonder: Is making room for silence an impossible feat to achieve in our modern, techno-noisy society? And if so, are we missing the whisper and unforeseen magic that the Universe and Self may be trying to communicate to us?
In the midst of all the noise, silence is remarkably easy to find; it’s everywhere around us. We should learn to unmask the noise by deliberating and consciously making an effort to create silence. In so doing, we can help remove tension and anxiety from our environment, recharge our internal batteries, and create peace with ourselves and our surroundings.
I know it may sound impossible. But even a small adjustment in your daily life can make a big difference. Here are 10 ways to incorporate silence into your noisy day:
- Take 5 quiet minutes before rising each morning to clear your mind and listen to your breath. (Set your intentions and daily gratitude while you’re at it.)
- Find a quiet corner at home that you can cultivate as your “sanctuary” – somewhere you may read or journal in peace, without intrusions.
- Sip your morning coffee outside on the patio instead of in front of a television. It’s not exactly silent out there, but listening to Mother Nature’s calmness can bring an inner stillness that’ll stick with you all day.
- Turn the radio off while you’re driving. Give the act of driving your full attention. You may be surprised by what you notice around you!
- Pause and take a few seconds to organize your thoughts before rambling onto the next speech.
- Sit and meditate for just 10-15 minutes and let your breath clear the mind of clutter. Increase the time as you nurture your practice.
- Go on a hike and leave the iPod in the car. Allow yourself to get lost in the spirit and the sounds of Mother Earth.
- Enjoy a silent evening. Disconnect from the laptop and cell phone.
- Make room for quiet contemplation or prayer. Intentionally erase the mind of the past and of the future. Let the mind just be.
- Savor the silent space before the mind drifts to sleep. It will promote a feeling of bliss, rest, and balance.
We should celebrate the beauty of certain sounds, such as the cries of a newborn baby or in the art of creating music. Nevertheless, we must make it a ritual to quiet the external noise and let the sounds of nature – Mother Earth’s music – emerge and sing to us. And we can begin to realize in its power, that it is healing, spiritual, and divine. Also, within the silence lies an offering to hear ourselves, attune to our own inner voice.
I leave you with a poignant passage from Wayne Dyer, a believer in the importance of cultivating silence: “It’s really the space between the notes that makes the music you enjoy so much.”