Silence is a source of Great Strength.
Quiet is peace. Tranquility. Quiet is turning down the volume knob on life. Silence is pushing the off button. Shutting it down. All of it.
I don’t know if many of us truly value the gift of silence. It challenges us to move away from the chatter and technology that occupies every waking (and sleeping) moment. It appears not by chance, but by decision to enter. It is elusive, and even when we make the decision to go off the grid for an hour or a day, our brains twitch in anticipation of when the silence will end.
And that is why meditation is so important.
Meditation in one form or another has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Even as far back as high school (which was a long time ago) I ran Transcendental Meditation sessions for my fellow actors in the drama club. Over the years I immersed myself in all things that had to do with calming the mind, and I loved sharing this with others.
As my knowledge of spiritual practice and yoga deepened, I understood more fully how powerful it is to enter a space of quiet. The noise that inhabits our daily comings and goings, the incessant hum of our devices, the constant interaction with the world deeply drains us in ways we are not even fully aware. It becomes more difficult to attempt to decompress at the end of the day, or even in any given moment during the day.
When we choose to meditate, we are saying that our minds and souls need to release into relaxation so that our brains can breathe a sign of relief. The goal is not to shut down every thought that enters, but to allow thoughts to drift by without judgement so that the mind can remain in a fluid state of calm, allowing for a slowing down of the intensity and speed of our thoughts. It doesn’t happen in one sitting, or two or even ten. Like everything else, it takes a little practice. I know, I know. Hard enough to find the time to commit to the mat, how am I supposed to find the time to meditate?
We all struggle to find time to do most things, and if we do find a moment of silence, more than likely we want to go to sleep. Or do laundry. Which by the way is not a bad thing either. If entering into some form of quiet translates into five minutes of an awareness of the breath even in the midst of folding towels, then do it. If it means that as you sit you find yourself snoring and drifting off, then go to sleep. Either way, the goal is the same.
Can you make space in your day or week to spend just five minutes in silence?