The Value of Silence
To personally experience the loving Awareness that upholds the Universe within ourselves, we need silence. But how can we find silence in this world that is full of noise and activity? Breaking news, rapid-fire entertainment, and ceaseless social media flood our lives. If we spend each day filling our brains with information from the outside, without balancing this with an inner connection to tranquility, we will never tap into the wealth of true wisdom that lives within.
The only way to develop stronger connection to the voice of the True Self that guides from within is to calm the restless body and mind, and to silence the voice of the screaming ego. Divine guidance is built into all humans through the instruments of conscience and intuition. Conscience is its first level and intuition is its more developed counterpart. If we are overly emotional, anxious, or analytical these cannot be heard.
Like any muscle that strengthens with gradual exercise, employing the practices that lie ahead in the Eight Limbs strengthens our intuitive sixth sense. This requires a willingness to overcome the fear of stillness and what we might find within. Rumi, the thirteenth century Sufi poet and mystic who often wrote about the spiritual journey, said that silence is the language of God. Truth is found in silence. Inspiration, understanding, rest, renewal, healing, and peace all emanate from silence. The ability to transcend whatever keeps us blocked or limited is found in silence through the still, small voice of guidance sourced in Love.
To develop a relationship with silence, we need to blend the committed energy of discipline with the loving energy of devotion. Through discipline we maintain our practices, accomplish goals, and meet deadlines. Through devotion we renew our daily willingness people rebel against discipline that is not enhanced with love. First, we commit to outer silence by intentionally carving out quiet time each day, no matter what. It could be 5:00 a.m. at home, 11:00 p.m. at the office, or noon in the car. We can start with five minutes a day and be dedicated to it. As we become comfortable with silence, it acts as a soothing balm to the incessant noise of life.
We create inner silence by gently greeting the flood of thoughts, emotions, adrenaline, and anxiety that arrives when we get quiet outwardly. We do not need to judge the layers of feelings, frustrations, sorrows, rage, tension, and the million notes to self. Silence is patient. Just be present. Eventually the mind stops thrashing about and we enter a blissful moment of inner stillness, feel the pulse of intuition, and realize that inspiration, renewal, and peace are always within reach.
The practice of silence for peace of mind and attunement to highest wisdom can also be shared with others who are struggling. By holding a kind, empathetic silence rather than trying to fix the problem or person, we give a love that is deeper than words. If we offer uninterrupted listening, we honor the other person’s process and feelings. Although we may not always agree, we can be present with respect and the willingness to understand.
To do this we must relax, surrender personal agenda, and recognize that we are all a part of the Divine Oneness. If we find ourselves moving into impatience or judgment, we can employ self-control (Brahmacharya), silently think of that person’s good qualities, or politely end the time together in order to reflect on why we feel triggered. Loving silence enables all involved to listen to their intuitive guidance before continuing. In this potent stillness, hearts open and we return to our practice of dedication to Source with no expectation of personal return.
In the spaciousness of silence combined with devotion, we cultivate an abiding relationship with our Highest Self through intuitive wisdom, and we find the anchor of love and peace that enables our lives to unfold with ease.
Excerpt from True Yoga: Practicing With the Yoga Sutras For Happiness and Spiritual Fulfillment by Jennie Lee © 2016. Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd., http://www.Llewellyn.com