Wisdom//

4 Key Lessons From A Year In Silence

What a year without speaking can teach us about listening.

Photo Credit — Wanda Badwal Photography

Insights and wisdom from a man who spent 365 days without speaking.

In this world of activity, saturated sensations, and ever-louder shouting, it seems as more people join the noise, so then the existing voices must become louder. So, one might feel that silence would be a sure fire way of never being heard.

It doesn’t surprise me when people are shocked to hear that I spent a year in silence (now completing my second year), and stowed away my loudspeaker, choosing instead to go within and find expression without words.

Mostly spent in Bali, amongst the rice paddies, expat yogis, and support of an amazing community, I dove deep into a world of no words and I discovered a few little secrets that tend to go overlooked in the battle to be heard.

1. You Are The Power, Not Your Message — The first insight is that whether you whisper or yell, your message is only as powerful as the space from which you share it. It must be rooted and originating from a place deep within you to find resonance in the hearts of others. All other speech is simply chatter of the mind, and will only find more chatter — this is why the crowds keep getting louder.

To spend time in silence is not an activity. It is the surrender of activity. It is the surrender of opinions and thoughts, of identities and roles, positions and postures; so that you may sink deep into the profound waters of your heart, and know the power of your voice is not in the words you speak, but rather from where you speak them.

2. Silence is Loud — The second insight is that silence is not a sacrifice of your voice; it is instead the first time you allow yourself to be heard without distortion. Our words only have meaning by reference to the definitions each person has, and few of us take the time to first agree upon those definitions. In silence, communication becomes a resonance of the heart and intention. The resonance itself is felt, like an emotion, and does not require an interpretation of language. It does, however, require those interacting to be fully present with one another.

3. We All Begin With Silence — The third insight is my favorite because it reminds us of our connection. In my silence I often heard people say they could never be silent for so long. They would comment on the impossibility of being quiet for even a few hours. Yet, just like the ocean that may seem turbulent on the surface, at its depths is a calm enduring peace. So, even in the daily chaos of verbal and mental monologues, silence exists as the foundation from which it all emerges.

Silence is the blank canvas on to which we place our painted words. It is the cloudless night sky that gives visibility to bright lights shining through. Beneath all our stories, chatter, and distractions is silence setting a space of potential. It is the space into which connection finds it’s way. In Silence, all voices become One…the voice of Love.

4. Love Begins Without Words — During my year in silence, I learned that to love, to truly love, is more than what can be given as expression, is more than the synced vibration of two hearts, and is beyond the minds capacity to place form upon the formless.

Love, is an ever present knocking upon the door of your infinite self, and to truly embrace its fullness, ironically, requires an act of letting go and opening. It is the action of surrender to a vulnerable and curious exploration of discovery waiting around the corner. In that space, love can be felt, received and shared, but only if we have not already filled it with our thoughts and words.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you’ve said, people will forget what you did, but they will never forget the way you made them feel.” — Maya Angelou

So, do not be afraid of drowning unheard into the crowds of loud expression. Instead, let the power of your surrender be what creates space for your voice to be felt, for people forget your words, but never the way you made them feel.

Originally published at medium.com

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