Yesterday, I embraced silence. I allowed every aspect of its truth to slowly envelope my body, my mind and my soul. For a whole ten hours I allowed only the silence to whisper gently to me, until eventually it became a part of me and I slowly I became it. Only then was I truly still, at peace and fully present in the moment.
We live in a noisy, distracting world. Our alarm clock wakes us up in the morning and we switch on the television or radio whilst we prepare for our busy day ahead. On our way to work we hear conversations in the street and on the train or we choose to jam headphones into our ears and listen to music to ‘distract’ us. In the office the phone is ringing, computers and printers are whirring, colleagues are laughing and chatting. We gossip on our lunch breaks or chat on our phones. When we get back home the t.v switch is pressed on again. We chat to our family about our day or catch up with friends.
Rarely are we silent for any length of time, there is always some outside distraction to do exactly that, distract.
Many Buddhist master’s meditate for hours on end, every day, every week, month on month. Nurturing the mind and body in the essence of stillness.
The same art of silence is practiced amongst many Native American tribes, “Silence is the absolute poise or balance of body, mind and spirit. The man who preserves his selfhood is ever calm and unshaken by the storms of existence … What are the fruits of silence? They are self-control, true courage or endurance, patience, dignity and reverence. Silence is the cornerstone of character.” – Ohiyesa, Santee Sioux
The moment we switch off the outside noise of life, our focus shifts entirely, instantly drawing us to things we ordinarily fail to see or hear. Silence deepens our view of the world and our perspective on life, as well as bringing us back into our true state of being.
A great way to experience the wonders of silence is to take yourself out into nature. Make a conscious effort not be distracted, switch off your mobile phone and go somewhere where you know you can be still. I live in the constant hustle and bustle of London Town, but every week without fail I pack a small bag of necessities (including a good book) and out I head on my own, to Greenwich Park. When I am truly still and at one with myself, my eyes are fully open to the beauty around me. The bright variety of colours of the fresh spring flowers, the buzzing of the bees as they dart to collect their sweet gifts amongst the foliage. The beauty in the huge oak tree, with its intra-cut artistic patterns formed within its trunk. Stillness brings clarity to the sounds of leaves dancing happily in the wind and the cawing of the crows as they talk back to nature. The energies of nature rejuvenate your spirit, trees cleanse the aura and the earth beneath the feet grounds us. Inhaling the sweet fresh air brings our focus on the breath.
Today I took my 18 month old nephew to the park. Jack is a bundle of energy and usually races about with such enthusiasm I become tired at just watching him (as 18 month old’s tend to), he loves exploring all that’s new and exciting in his tender little world. Today however, we embraced the essence of silence, together.
Placing a blanket on the ground I lay down in the sunshine and allowed him to roam free. At first he raced around in his usual enthusiastic fashion, pointing at squirrels and planes in the sky, proudly announcing ‘plane’ every time he heard an engine up above. Just for today his words were met with a big broad, beaming smile, a smile of encouragement that was gently cocooned in silence. Before long Jack padded back over to the blanket and lay down beside me, resting his head softly on the ground. There he lay for a whole 55 wondrous minutes, simply watching the world pass by. He looked at the clouds, he inspected the grass, he watched the trees, and the many families pass by. He smiled at the pigeons and pointed at the dogs, soaking up the beauty of his own little world, totally at peace, in a little quiet bubble. For that 55 minutes, little Jack was one with himself, he was still and he was happy.
Silence soothes us and brings us back to present moment. Today take time to be silent, just breathe and honor the here and now.