Silence isn’t something that most of us experience on a regular basis. There always seems to be some sort of commotion going on around us. Whether it’s the clacking of your co-workers’ fingers on their keyboard, the swish of cars going by you as you walk down the street, or the sounds of breath and movement in a yoga class, there always seems to be noise surrounding us.
Even during the rare moments when our environment is silent, we can fall victim to the never-ending noise of the thoughts in our heads. For many of us, a racing mind is the barrier between noise and true silence. It is an obstacle between feeling empowered and feeling overwhelmed.
Practicing mindfulness allows us to break down that barrier and surrender to silence.
In this heightened state of awareness, we can truly observe what is here and now. Cultivating this silence allows us to exist in the present moment, the only place where we have the opportunity to see new options, make different choices, and grow.
In the silence of the mind, we enter a powerful state of being. Here, we have awareness beyond words that are spoken, thoughts that flow, or stories we have told ourselves. We can take on the role of an observer, looking at life as it exists in front of us, and truly embracing the present moment. We are better equipped to look at how we react to the world around us, and can better observe how we have labeled ourselves based on those reactions. In this silence, we enter into a state of awareness and observation from which internal and external noise often holds us back.
Each time we touch this state of quietude and presence, we return to the busy-ness of life changed in a way that allows us to be less reactive and more responsive. Having experienced the gap between overbearing thoughts that can cause angst and the peace of being truly present, we’re more likely to make choices that align with our highest good. Therefore, we continually grow less stressed and more capable, and experience overall well-being.
The act of surrendering to silence straddles a fine line between straining and relaxing. When we sit in meditation, for example, the attempt to force our minds to be silent often ends up being unsuccessful. In contrast, by relaxing into the silence, we can remove the strain from the act and simply ease into the present. This might sound like a matter of semantics, but there are ways you can practice relaxing into the silence, rather than forcing your way into it.
To start, set aside some time to free yourself of distractions. Turn off your phone, close down your laptop, and put away anything that might take your mind away from the present. Sit comfortably and breathe deeply. Don’t go into this mindfulness practice with a preconceived notion of how it should go – this is where the forcefulness comes in. Let go of all that. Simply sit. Be quiet. Observe. If there are thoughts, say “I see that thought.” Breathe.
Keep in mind that fully surrendering to silence takes practice.
We live in a world where we are constantly stimulated by our phones, media, news, people around us, and more. At first, it can feel almost unnatural to exist in a state where we don’t have some sort of commotion humming around us. It takes patience and consistent effort to work against what our minds have been conditioned to think is normal. Be kind to yourself, and let your practice of surrendering to silence strengthen over time.
You will be enriched by the stillness, the surrender, and the silence.
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