Developing the skill of silence is useful for anyone who is seeking to become better attuned to the natural world and your inner self. There are many benefits to be gained by developing the skill of silence. To develop a silent meditation practice and a sense of peace, you have to find a tranquil environment and create a serene mental state. This preliminary training will help to increase the capacity that one has to remain calm and collected in all situations. Developing this skill will also increase your capacity to feel empathy, your ability to seek peace and your desire to create a kind, compassionate society.
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The Benefits of Becoming Silent
If you have ever sat in silence in nature, you know just how peaceful it can be. You can practice your silent meditation in your meditation room, or you can try the Japanese art of forest bathing instead. No matter what technique you use, your silence can help you achieve some of the following benefits.
- Prevent plaque from forming in your arteries.
- Enjoy having lower blood pressure.
- Improve hormone regulation and breathing.
- Boost your immune system.
- Reduce stress levels.
- Decrease insomnia issues.
Learn How to Develop the Skill of Silence
The best way to develop this practice is to gather the tools that you need. Luckily, all that you really need is a concentrated mind and a comfortable area to walk, stand, sit or lay down. This can be done in a quiet room or a natural setting like a forest.
The skill of silence is similar to meditation, so practitioners of meditation may find many similarities between the skill of silence and certain meditation techniques. Before sitting, be certain that there are no distractions or immediate concerns that need to be taken care of. If you have children, you may want to ask your children to join you in a silent meditation practice.
You can also learn how to excel at silent meditation by taking a retreat. Vipassana centers like the one in Onalaska, Washington, are designed for 10-day silent meditation retreats. Since they run entirely on meditation, Vipassana centers can be used by anyone from any income level or background.
Make sure you are hydrated, and you are able to sit for at least half an hour. You also must be determined not to speak, gesture, write note or use any other form of communication. This will help reduce the verbal dialog that is always active in your mind. You can make this process easier by removing any distractions.
This seclusion will help to create a tranquil environment. A peaceful environment is supportive for those who want to focus on the silence around them. Additionally, the lack of communication and interaction with others will help your mind become serene. This pairing of seclusion and silence will help those who are willing to concentrate on developing the skill of silence.
If you are struggling to figure out how to develop the skill of silence, there are a number of methods you can use. You can:
- Use deep breathing exercises to calm your mind.
- Meditate alone or in a group.
- Stay in bed for an extra five minutes after you wake up, and use this time to slowly awaken for the day.
- Ask a friend to join you for a walk in nature.
Ultimately, the best method is the one that works best for you. If you can’t go for a walk in nature, then meditation or silent sitting would obviously be a better choice. Likewise, a stroll in nature may be better if you struggled to stay still when you meditate.
Remove Extraneous or Negative Thoughts
You are learning this skill for more than your physical and mental health. This skill will help you reduce negative influences and interactions in your life. It will also reduce the negativity you send out to the world as well.
For the first few minutes of your silent practice, reflect on any negative communications that you have shared in the past day. Lies, gossip, slander, harsh words and nonsensical communication may have a negative impact on the lives of those around you and your own personal life.
Then, allow these negative thoughts to fade from your mind. If you have any regrets, then simply take note of the regrets and let them disappear as well. When the mind is purified from these negative thoughts, you can finally focus on the positive communications that you have had.
Anything kind, compassionate, loving, positive, joyful, supportive or gentle should be remembered and focused on. Allow the positive energy from these experiences to fill your mind and body. Then, let these memories fade into the past.
At this point, there should be nothing remaining but positive energy and a serene mind. Without your thoughts distracting you, you can allow your senses to pick up the world around you. If you hear bird chirps, raindrops, a child’s laughter or anything else, you can just enjoy these sounds. As each moment passes, attempt to focus on the sounds between the sounds. By focusing on the more quiet and subtle sounds, you will find that your mind becomes more focused and you are less likely to get distracted by stray thoughts.
Turn Your Focus to the Sound of Silence
The next step is to allow your mind to focus more and more on the silence. This can be done by focusing on the spots in between noise. It can also be achieved by moving your mind away from loud noises.
Continual noises like a babbling brook or a fan will eventually be naturally muted by your mind. Try to listen to the silence that exists underneath the sounds that you hear. If possible, reduce the sounds around you by using earmuffs or headphones. In many cases, people immediately find this technique useful as soon as they try it.
Eventually, you may find that you hear nothing at all. This sound of nothing may be so quiet that you aren’t even certain you’ve heard anything at all. However, even if you are uncertain about what you are hearing, it is still good to keep listening to the silence. In time, you will find that the sound of silence truly exists and can aid your meditation practice.
At some point, you will hear something that you have never heard before. This sound will be unique to you, and it will be unable to be described to anyone else. The only people who have heard this sound are those who have put in the effort to hear the sound of silence. Once this is heard, then you have completed the first step of developing the skill of silence.
Carry the Sound of Silence With You During the Day
From here, the goal is to move this silence into the mind and body. A tranquil environment and a serene mind will produce a peaceful body. When the mind and body are at rest, silence will move and flow into it like water into a sponge. By moving the sensation of silence into your being, you will expel the noises, stresses, anxieties and worries that are already occupying space in the mind and body.
Keep your mind silent as this energy flows inward. Put any thoughts out of your mind. You can do this by noticing the silence between the voice that the mind uses to communicate with itself.
This internal communication is also called the internal dialog. It has the power to do great things. An untrained mind will be abused, bullied and negatively influenced by harmful internal communication. A trained mind will be filled with positive energy and supportive thoughts.
Finally, a trained mind will be silent. When the mind and body are truly silent, there will be no fears, anxieties, worries or concerns. Your actions will be positive, uplifting, kind and compassionate. These positive actions, much like the reverberations of an echo, will return positive events and influences toward your life.
In effect, developing the skill of silence will increase the duration, intensity and frequency of your positive actions. And as your positive actions increase, so will the positive effects that happen in your life and in the world.