The power of silence
March 22, 2021
What comes to mind when I mention sitting in silence for ten days?
Gharwali ladies immersed in a moment of silence observing the breath, during an evening yoga practice.
Perhaps horror, astonishment, disbelief, intrigue or maybe even delight? For most of us, silence is a rarity and uncomfortable. Our days are filled with noise from alarm clocks, phones ringing, radios blaring the hottest hits, idle chatter, rumbling traffic, captivating YouTube videos and ‘winding down’ watching the latest Netflix. We are engulfed by these external distractions which keep our minds wandering and our innate quest for balance and inner peace at bay. We may even fear the sounds of silence, as it can allow our internal dialogues of uncertainty, discontent and self-critique to surface. Confronting us with the very emotional or physical discomfort we have been trying hard to avoid. We keep ourselves busy, filling our minds and lives with numbing noise or activity, materialistic clutter, chasing fleeting moments of happiness as we repeat the cycle of craving and aversion – wanting something we do not have and/or resisting something we do. Is this sounding familiar?
Silenced by natural beauty and the mesmerising sights of fractal patterns in nature.
What comes to mind when I mention the possibility of finding your strength through silence?
The power of silence has been a recent discovery for myself, and one that I can gratefully say has positively changed my life significantly. It was through studies and practise of yoga in India under the gracious guidance of my teacher Bharat Shetty Ji, I was invited to remove myself from societal traps and embrace silent solitude, a strict schedule and sitting on the floor. Bharat Shetty’s holistic approach enabled us students to experience the quietness that is needed for self-inquiry, in order to show ourselves our own strength within. Our daily asana practises were held in silence, as were mealtimes; with the intention of creating spaces where our attention could be focused on one thing at a time. Silence during practice allowed our focus to remain with the breath, body and mind connection, as we observed how the harmony of the breath and body could bring balance to the mind. Silence during mealtimes allowed for appreciation of all the processes involved by plants, people and natural forces alike, for the food to journey and evolve from the source to our service. These moments of silent awareness, be it the warmth of our nostrils with each exhalation or the chewy texture of mushroom pakora, are the foundations from which inner peace can form.
Silence provides space for self-acceptance and appreciation to shine through.
What comes to mind when I mention that acceptance and understanding can come from silence?
As a human, accepting ourselves exactly as we are can be one of our biggest challenges. We are forever striving to be different from who we are in some shape or form – as we compare ourselves to others, feeling the need to prove our self-worth, or believing someone or something else holds the key to our eternal happiness. To be clear, I am not preaching from a place of the converted, I certainly stumble across these hurdles like all of us; however, thanks to these silent practices I am now negotiate them with greater ease than before. Time on my own revealed a friend within myself I did not know was there; an acceptance of who I was and an appreciation of what I have to offer. From an acceptance of self, came contentment being with myself and not seeking or needing validation from anyone else. It is an empowering realisation when you take responsibility for your own feelings and actions. Remembering not to rely on anyone or anything else to make you happy, simply because they cannot. We are responsible for our own happiness, sadness and every other human emotion. From a place of acceptance, comes understanding as we acknowledge what is in our personal realm of influence and what is not. How we respond to our own thoughts and others’ actions are all we have control over, not anyone else’s.
Contentment, happiness, and peace can be found within each and every one of us.
Of course, the experiences I am sharing with you are my own and are truth for myself. I am not claiming them to be true for you, I am merely inviting you to discover your own truth by experimenting with possibly new ways of being or thinking for yourself. I endeavour to pass on learnings I have found useful to navigate the wonderfully wild journey of life in hope they might be of service to someone else. Again, everything I have mentioned is a dynamic continuum of work in progress, but I do believe once we become aware of something it is forever there for us to retrieve with willingness and practice. Remembering everything we need is found within ourselves already. These are things that I am continuously working towards, the difference being now I am looking in the right place – I am seeking fulfillment from within myself rather than from others or worldly places around me. I leave you with a poignant quote to remind us all where to start looking…
“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
As always I am grateful to Snaffle for providing me this opportunity to share my story and supplying me with the means to do so. Please get in touch and our team can help you find the right equipment to share your story too.
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