When I was a young dance teacher, I often found myself preaching to my students and over explaining the ideas I was trying to convey. Becoming older and wiser, I incorporated the power of silence; speaking much less but meaning much more. Over time, I was able to distill my thoughts, using just the right words while weaving silence into my speech. I found the less I spoke, the more impact I had.
Great musicians understand the importance of weaving silence into their music. Silence gives the listener the opportunity to absorb, digest, and reflect on the beauty of the notes and sounds that are being played. Silence is used as a way to contrast the rhythmic phrases and melodic harmonies that a well composed piece of music contains.
The nature of silence is that; it is the thing that is always there. It’s not created, it is constant. In other words, it’s not that we ever add silence to something but more accurately, we simply remove that which has been layered on top to reveal silence. Sound is what’s created and it’s sounds that are added on top of silence that we are often hearing or being entertained by where essentially, silence is being drowned out.
The world we live in today has become oversaturated with sound, noise, distractions, and stimulus that would have us believe silence is something the likes of fiction. Yet, inside us, we each possess a silence, a quietude that is ever present. Engaging in the activity of our daily lives, it can become difficult to find, rendering most of us strangers to silence.
Fortunately, there are practices we can engage in that position us to experience this inner silence by removing the layers of noise that sit on top largely in the form of our thoughts.
The best way I know how to do this is through meditation. Vedic meditation to be exact. A technique I learned about 10 years ago and now have the honor of teaching. While other forms of meditation may also illicit a similar experience, what distinguishes Vedic meditation is it’s unique use of a bija mantra (a meaningless word or sound — one that the mind finds charming) that draws our awareness away from the surface or gross level of thinking downward to the subtler, less noisy thoughts below. Vedic meditation offers its practitioners the possibility of completely transcending thought altogether whereby, as a by-product, the mind falls silent.
Experiencing silence in this manner allows us to move inward creating the opportunity to discover an entire world that lies within us. When we spend time with our inner silence through the consistent practice of Vedic meditation, it permeates into our outer world. This provides a richer life experience in that we become more able to detect silence and subtly in the waking state where we previously thought there was none. Silence is no longer a stranger, but more of a good friend we look forward to seeing and spending time with.
During this pandemic, where we are encouraged to stay indoors and practice social distancing, many of us have found virtual ways of communing, likely adding even more screen time to our already device driven lives. The question then becomes: “In what capacity are you experiencing your inner silence?”
If you never give yourself the opportunity to be still and consistently chose distraction over connecting with your inner self, you run the risk of missing out on the brilliance and the beauty that lies within you. In terms of getting the most out of these unprecedented times, make sure to favor rest, relaxation, and stillness ahead of an alternate form of stimulus. If you do not yet meditate, I highly suggest finding a practice that resonates with you. Your inner silence is waiting.