Why on earth be silent?
I talk a fair amount in my daily life.
I use speech in my work with clients, when guiding retreats, teacher trainings, workshops, seminars/talks and also with my family and loved ones. Speech is a form of connection.
I also (like the masses) use emails, sms, WhatsApp daily.
This is another form of speech/communication.
It’s a DRAIN!
Talking is one of the fastest ways to drain vitality (OJAS in Ayurveda) from your system.
Especially so when speech becomes excessive and/or mindless.
For example- notice how you feel when you’ve been at an event or gathering engaging in “small talk” or polite chit-chat.
Excessive use of emails/wifi/internet has the same detrimental affect.
Long periods of speech and excessive use of e-communication increases distraction, depletion and fragmentation.
Why bring silence in to your day?
It is will help instil greater calm and quiet in the mind!
Ask yourself the below questions:
Do you find yourself craving quiet? (Especially in the noisy pockets of the day, month or year? OR
Do you find you cannot be without sounds around you? do you fear silence?
Are you easily distracted? Especially by noise and others talking around you?
Do you talk excessively? Do people call you a chatterbox?!
Do you regularly find yourself saying things you don’t mean?
If the answer is YES to any of the above… short periods of daily conscious SILENCE will be a helpful daily practice for you!
Enjoy the Silence
Greater productivity, direction, focus and contentment are bi-products of working with me and the 5 Elements for Life framework.
Silence is one of the tools I recommend and use.
A daily do
Today I generally like to keep silent until around 8.30am each day (of course there are exceptions!)
I consciously choose to not turn on my phone until I have finished my breakfast. Again of course there are exceptions. This means NO reading or replying to emails, sms, WhatsApp etc or speaking to others in my home.
Once a week I also like to have a half day of complete silence.
This is how I help stay centred and clear for my morning and day.
Seduction of the senses
Life perpetually promotes the OUTSIDE.
It marketsthe abundance of attractions through our five senses.
We are daily seduced but the “come hither” of outside delights.
Please note I am not suggesting enjoying the senses is a bad thing.
Quite contrary in fact! The senses are a way we perceive the outside world. The outside can be enjoyed and bring delight through the use of our senses; HOWEVER
Moderation must be applied!
As well as the knowing that the INSIDE is where the ultimate fulfilment can be found.
Sensory overload or mis-use s of the senses is known as asatmya-Indriyarth Samyog in Ayurveda. Itwill veer even the most stable and calm mind off track. It impacts one’s ability to discriminate (buddhi)between what is appropriate and what is not. What is too much and what is too little.
When our senses are overused, our discrimination becomes impaired.
This generally results in seeking more of what is taking us out of balance (like begins to attract like).
So it seems like a good idea (a solution even) to use more in this case - sms, social media; greater indulgence in tastes of substances that are pulling us further away.
More speaking (for example phone calls to talk about nothing) entertaining gossip/harmful conversation about others. For example - criticising and judging people as opposed to looking at our own behaviours and parts in the circumstances we find ourselves in.
What’s the Solution?
The perennial ancient truths and philosophies direct that the only way to escape pain, suffering (such as fear, anger, jealously, envy, stress, sorrow, denial, low sense of self/arrogance etc) is to learn to be comfortable in the space WITHIN.
It will agitate and increase all symptoms noted above if it continually is distracted and tries to find answers in OUTSIDE people, places of things.
“What's silence got to do, got to do with it?”
It's got EVERYTHING to do with it!
Mauna as it is called is a way to move from the outside inwards. A prime way to exercise some “abstinence” around something that is engaged in each day and becomes mindless for the masses.
Here are just a few of the benefits:
1) Savour your energy:
Excess SPEECH (vak) is one of the ways in which we can loose vital energy.
Think about how you feel when you have been at an event, either presenting or making polite “ chit-chat” about nothing particular. Some can feel high especially if you have been speaking at an event. That is because the excess use of the sense of speech has created excess stimulation and the nervous system is trying to find a way to bring it down.
Many people feel tired and depleted.
WHY? This is because a large amount of energy has been pulled out through the SPEECH portal.
2) Conscious talk: Do you really need to say it?
Consider verbalising 20% of what you THINK you need to say
I was told once we need to use 20% of what we actually say each day.
I really notice this after silent periods. For example how much less I really need to SAY to get about my day.
And ditch the other 80%
Ask yourself…do I really need to say it?
Most of what we say (according to the same source above) is just filling space and showing an aversion to silence.
3)What's Ayurveda got to say about SILENCE?
Silence (mauna as it is traditionally known) is a way to help pacify any excess VATA dosha (the excess of AIR and ETHER elements).
Vata in excess leads to instability, anxiety, insomnia, indecision, stress, lack of clarity etc.
Practicing MAUNA helps build OJAS. Ojas is unctuousness that offers moisture to the body and mind cultivating robust tranquility and immunity.
Too much talking and external OUTPUT will deplete these reserves fast.
Regular silence will help foster stronger OJAS levels.
4) HARNESS the mind and remove the blocks!
When we create conscious silence (and work with the breath) there is also an opportunity to make space to begin the process of consciously letting go of past impressions, cravings and aversions to things, stuck mindsets and the desire to control outcomes.
GIVE IT A GO!
YIKES… the quiet!
If silence is something daunting for you- try just 15-30 minutes each day.
Switch off completely from emails and other communication). Do not speak or answer calls.
Ideally sit and close your eyes and watch your breath (apa- japa or anapana sati breath). OBSERVE the quality of the breath (how it moves); the temperature; where you feel it.
If you are not ready for sitting- try to be present in what you are doing and feeling as you go about your actions (cooking, cleaning, dressing etc).
Another good habit is to make an effort to keep your phone OFF on weekends until you have got up and had breakfast. Or during the week until you leave the house for work.
Want to try it?
Join a Heart of Living Retreat (see retreats)
During the (3-4) annual HEART of LIVING retreats - you will experience the profound SOUND of SILNCE.
Each day there is silence until 12 midday as part of the retreat.
And you know what… ?
People who have never consciously practiced silence - start to tell me its their favourite part of these retreats!
“I have never practiced silence before the retreat. I was a little unsure how I would take it- or if I could do it!
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. It was the ability to not have to feel I should be polite and make small talk. I could be alone or with people and not TALK.
I felt so peaceful”.