In this information age, it is believed that in one day we deal with as much information as our ancestors did in a lifetime. We are all flooded with images, blogs, posts, ideas and so much more. It can be hard to process, let alone decipher which information is useful. Our capacity to think clearly, and our access to our inner voice of wisdom is affected by this overload of information.
Our bodies, our mind, and our senses need a regular reboot through silence.
However, often, the mind, which has been trained to seek outside, resists coming into silence. This can happen not just in the context of sitting and cultivating inner silence during meditation, but also in our daily life, with our tendency to keep filling small spaces with inner or outer talk. We speak when we are uncomfortable, we put on a radio or tv show to unwind, we get caught in mental anxiety loops that disturb our sleep and prevent the body from relaxing. What we need is a good dose of silence!
Silence is often translated as ‘a complete absence of sound or noise.’ However, to experience silence, it is not enough to just plug the ears, as the mind can continue chattering. Yogis understood this and created a pathway that leads towards an embodied silence where our whole being opens to a state of deep listening and heightened awareness. To get there we apply a precise formula of asana, kriya, breath, meditation and often mantra. The combination of these elements dissolves the inner disturbances that keep us in a state of inner agitation and allow the senses to draw inwards more easily, where the mind begins to engage with the inner source of silence, a deep well of contentment and peace.
Inner silence is different than simply turning off outer noise like an engine. Inner silence has a quality of presence where Truths that may have been eluding us finally come into our consciousness.
One of the famous Indian Saints Guru Nanak wrote whole verses about the mysteries that are revealed when you gain access to inner silence: He said things like:
“Listen deeply and receive the gifts of yoga, learn the secrets of the body, and receive the wisdom of the sacred scriptures.” He says that by listening deeply you will be swept into bliss and all pain and suffering will be wiped away. His verses speak to the deepening of consciousness that happens as you relax into silence. You begin to recognize the beauty, love, and grace that you may have forgotten about.
Once we have a relationship to inner silence, we can discern the inner voice of wisdom and act according to its guidance.
So here are ways to allow time for the unfolding of this kind of silence.
Take one of these classes with me on GLO
OR to do by yourself: Sit on a chair, with your feet flat on the floor. Lengthen your spine and tuck the chin slightly in. Let the shoulders relax and place your hands palms up on your knees. Inhale and let the abdomen relax and round out, and exhaling pull the abdomen in a little bit to empty the lungs. Breathe through the nostrils and keep the breath natural. Gradually start to lengthen your exhale. Inhale count 1, exhale and count 2 until your exhale becomes twice as long as your inhale. Once the rhythm of your breath is stead listen for the sound it makes. Listen deeply with both ears, then with your whole body, even as you continue with the breath rhythm. Keep going for 3-10 minutes.