The sound of silence

Lately, I’ve been finding myself drawn towards meditation. For a person who loves to talk, narrates every story multiple times, and writes what words I have left in the day, this has been a surprising discovery.

I’ve found that just the word meditation carries a lot of varying ideas, and for some is more than a bit scary. Is it spiritual? Complicated? Does it require candles, incense, readings, and a theme? (No, no, no and no.)

My initial foray was at a meditation class offered at my yoga studio. I attended out of curiosity with my daughter, Braelyn, who was 17 at the time. All we did, quite literally, for the first half hour, was focus on particular areas on our body, starting with the head and moving down through the third eye, heart, etc. Odd? Yes, at first. But each area was just for 5 minutes, and remarkably for both of us, it passed quickly, and we were shocked to find out it was easy, enjoyable, and not nearly as weird as it sounds.

Following that, I really let go of a lot of ideas I had about meditating. That there’s something difficult about sitting and doing nothing, thinking nothing, and letting your mind clear. Remember – I’m a talker? And yet – I found this to be natural, simple, and completely refreshing.

Think about your day. The voices, music, computer, television, are all constantly entertaining our over-active brains and stimulating us beyond anything that is healthy.  It causes us to breathe faster, think faster, and generally upset the natural rhythm of our bodies. The result? Cluttered minds. Frazzled nervous systems. Shallow breathing. Even when we exercise, we’re often doing it with headphones or in a noisy gym.

What if our minds and bodies would just function better if we let go and silenced it all, even if just for minutes each day?

I’m a logical person, a thinker, and I live mostly in my head. Letting go for just a few minutes a day has become something really simple and powerful in my life. And as I do, I’m finding that it’s not complicated, weird, or even really very – active.

Guess what? There’s a lot of inspiration and clarity just there for us. Turn off the Pandora. Shut the laptop. Put the phone away. And then just breathe and listen. You may be completely surprised at how easy it is. How quickly five minutes passes. And if even for just a few seconds – you catch a glimpse of the simplicity of life – you’ll be coming back for more.

We all want inspiration. We run our businesses better with it. We are better parents, lovers, friends. Our minds were built to dream, expand, grow. Without silence, we’re robbing ourselves of the ability to see things more clearly. It’s so simple, it’s a little shocking. Think of that moment when you first arrive at the beach. Or enter a peaceful spa. Jump in the pool. That’s the “ah moment” – and that’s what our busy minds are starved for.

There is a story that goes like this:

Once upon a time, a student went to a great sage to ask about the meaning of life and how to attain the direct experience of the Highest.

He asked his question, but the sage gave no answer. He just sat there.

Again, the student asked about how to find and fulfill the Purpose of life. Again, the sage just sat there.

The student tried different words, and appealed with great emotion. The sage just sat there, as before.

Finally, the student became frustrated, and blurted out, in an angry tone, “Why don’t you answer me!”

The sage smiled, and said, “I have been answering you, but you were not listening. The answer you are looking for is to be found only in Silence.”

To sit in stillness and silence for even a few minutes each day is a very useful thing to do.

May you find that silence which leads to Silence.

4 thoughts on “The sound of silence

  1. I’ve never done yoga, but I do like to drive into the rural areas around town, park, and just listen and look. Or I’ll stop at a park and just sit, observing and thinking.

    • I do too. Yoga just got me started, I think, and reminded me that you don’t always have to be thinking, planning, energetically meditating. Thanks for the comment!

  2. Go Lynne,

    I can live with lots of silence! A year or so ago, we had a yoga class with a half hour of silence, un-announced until it was time for class to start. I found it refreshing–the majority hated it. We were encouraged to “imagine” a guide which I found relatively simple–the One is my guide every day.

    20 or so years ago Silent Retreats were fairly popular in our church circles; I attended several and benefitted from those. I never wear headphones when I’m walking (I’m ready to head out now on a beautiful October day.)

    Spread the word. Choose your guide wisely.

    Love, mom

  3. I remember you talking about those retreats – I am not surprised that they are popping up again.

    I share the same guide as you. It’s just so natural and simple.

    Thank you for the beautifully worded comment. I love reading whatever you write!

    Lynne

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