At this time of isolation some people may confuse silence with loneliness. There are those who have the radio or television on all day ‘just for company’ which can be a way of feeling connected. To be constantly bombarded with information, however, asks a great deal of the mind. Knowledge and mental entertainment should wisely nourish the mind; it should not be force-fed without discernment. Time for quiet reflection is an essential part of any day. We must deliberately invite the silence in so that we can use it to improve our lives.
‘Soon silence will have passed into legend. Man has turned his back on silence. Day after day he invents machines and devices that increase noise and distract humanity from the essence of life, contemplation, meditation… tooting, howling, screeching, booming, crashing, whistling, grinding, and trilling bolster his ego. His anxiety subsides. His inhuman void spreads monstrously like a gray vegetation.’ ~ Jean Arp
Although there are many types of meditation, some of which involve guided visualisation, the deepest meditation and the one that offers the greatest sense of peace and control is one of silence.
In this mediation we sit comfortably upright and close our eyes to remove external visual distraction. The world outside will continue to make noise but we withdraw our senses from it. Though the ‘hearing’ and ‘labelling’ of the external sounds occur inside the body and mind we no longer interact with it.
We become aware of the physical sensation of the body; posture, temperature, discomfort. These sensations too will remain external. As we withdraw we will no longer respond to them. Our physical aches and pains will become irrelevant.
So too with the mind. Your thoughts are merely words and images flowing across your ‘mind screen’ but, as you sink further into the quietude, they become more and more distant. The mind will not cease to think; that is its function. However, you will no longer react to or follow these thoughts. They become an indefinable background noise.
Now untroubled by any sensations or mind chatter you sink into the welcome silence………….
After a time of your choosing you will slowly bring awareness back to the ‘here and now’. You become once again of your thoughts and then of the sensations of the body. The world around you is continuing on its way; you have merely stepped out for a few moments. Carry with you the sense of peace and patience this practice creates.