I remember when I lived in the ashram, my Meditation Master was talking about how the modern world with its instant communication has robbed us of silence. We not only fill our days with constant communication – most of it electronic, but also we are aware of all the disasters that happen around the world – as soon as it happens. Too much information. In some ways this level of communication is good. It is good to be informed, but when does it become the noise that robs us of the silence?
I know from my own experience that when I build silence into my day, I have better days. Meditation is my silence, but it can be many things. Simply taking a walk at some point in your day on your own – without your phone – and just noticing what is around you is very powerful. How often do you go for a walk and look at, and take in, your surroundings? I mean really take in your surrounding – stop and look at a leaf on a tree, a view, the sun’s rays through the clouds. Look at the details, find the silence in the details.
This is about being with yourself, something some of my retreat clients find challenging at first. Interestingly, they think they will find it challenging but once they go out and wander the paths in the mountains or walk along the beach, they actually find it really nourishing.
That is the key. As well as any growing awareness that you will gain from simply being with yourself and watching your mind, silence nourishes us. Something inside deeply relaxes when we bathe in silence. After a while, time slows down and we stop feeling restless, like we should be ‘doing’ something. We gradually allow ourselves to be.
This is where our inspiration lies. When you give yourself that gift of time and awareness the silence opens you up to parts of you that get lost in the noise. Those ideas that have been trying to be heard can suddenly get through when you finally stop. I know that when I have a thorny problem I take it for a walk. That does not mean I try to think it out while I walk. No, I literally ask myself the question, what might be the solution? Then I walk along in silence and start being present with what is around me. The silence and the walking work its magic more often than not and an answer will seemingly pop into my mind. Purely by shifting my mental state through silence I have allowed myself to find my answer.
If you are feeling that you should introduce more silence into your world, stop now and jot down a few ways you could do this. Would you like to meditate, or simply have a few minutes of mindfulness in your day? Does the idea of taking a silent walk resonate with you? You could even simply practise silence and take a lovely, relaxing bath at the same time. Silence is a practise and all my retreats clients, having experienced its power, have gone home wanting to add it into their day. I invite you to add it to yours.
Jessica McGregor Johnson offers Life Guidance and Coaching and is the author of “The Right T-Shirt, Write Your Own Rules and Live the Life You Want” and “Remembering Perfection – Everyday Inspiration for Living Your Spiritually”. She helps people who are at a crossroads in their life who know that there must be more meaning than they currently feel. Working with her they discover themselves anew, identify their true passions, and how live them, whether it be in their work or personal life. You can read the first two chapter of her book here.