Silence as a Practice
Over the past several weeks, I have been practicing silence in different corners of my life. Today, I am completely silent in all areas. I am out of words. I am, in a way, catatonic. This is how I cope when life has gotten too loud. For me, silence has become one of my most effective practices, and a sign that change is underway. And though it has become second nature to me, here are a few methods I’ve noticed myself repeating during these quiet times.
Finding a Quiet Place
When it’s time to be silent, I usually find myself locked in my bedroom, or sometimes in my bathroom or closet, for a number of hours. Once locked inside, I tend to sit on the floor. Now that I think about it, I feel more grounded…on the ground! Depending on how I feel, I might listen to a particular song, binge-watch one of my favorite shows, or comb through a book or magazine. And, chances are, I have locked myself in this quiet space with a glass of wine, a cocktail, or a beer. Whatever I do while in this space, I don’t speak, and any noises made are mine, and not those that are out of my control. And sometimes, I don ‘t make any noise at all. I just sit.
Focusing My Attention and breath
I have also noticed that I tend to focus on one general area of the room, and sometimes, that means I’m just staring at the wall. This is a moment of nothingness, and with all that goes on in my life, it’s nice to just look at nothing for a while.
Another way I focus my attention is to close my eyes and think about a certain part of my body. For me, this is usually my diaphragm or my gut. While focusing on that area, I take deep, cleansing breaths, in an effort to rid myself of the energies weighing me down, and to release the tension I tend to keep in that part of the body.
It is important for me, during my silence, to remain forward focused, as well. This helps me to evolve out of this still silence, and spring back into action when I feel ready. So, while in my silent practice, I think about a goal that makes me happy, and all the things I need to do in order to achieve that goal. I think about and make a list of what I will do to get closer to that goal, as soon as I deliver myself from my silence. I do this so I don’t get stuck, so that I utilize this practice, and not use it as a crutch or a place of permanent escape.
During the silence, and in the moments after I have broken my vow, I journal my thoughts and ideas. For me, I focus on gratitude when journaling, and my ideas are centered around my personal and professional goals. In my silence, my thoughts, feelings, and motivations become clearer than ever, and getting them down on paper is important, so that I don’t forget once I am back in the world.
These quiet times can last for days, and once, during a particularly difficult time, my silence lasted for 3 months! When practicing silence, do it in your own time, and in a way that works for you. Maybe you’ll need an hour or two of silence everyday after a draining day at the office. Maybe you’ll need an entire weekend. Maybe you will spend your entire vacation in silence…and in Mexico!
There is so much peace in being silent. Here is where you will find the answers to the questions you’ve been asking of the universe. In practicing silence, you will be able to hear yourself clearer. Silence is a way to let the universe know you have had enough, that you’re exhausted, and unable to go on as you’ve been, and something needs to change.
Practicing silence isn’t about not responding to the universe — it’s about allowing the universe space and time to respond to you! Make this practice a part of your daily and weekly self-care, and you may be surprised about what you discover about yourself!