Your Practice of Profound Silence
The practice of silence is associated with monasteries, ashrams, and other sacred places. I’ve heard people comment that the practice of monastic silence is a method of control and a means of keeping order in the ranks. For these individuals, the notion that silence has a mystical power makes no sense. Yet, inherently we know where silence leads us and so we fear its power to change us. One of the more renowned mystics and monastic figures, St. Benedict, wrote extensively on the practice of silence. “The task of the disciple is to be silent and listen,” he wrote.
In a similar vein, a Buddhist monk wrote, “The silence will teach you everything.” That is why we fear silence. We are our only company and inevitably we must engage in the recall of our past, our actions, our thoughts, and the quality of life we are living. And yet, why do we assume that we would end up fearing that? Why do we always assume that to look inward is automatically to open up our own Pandora’s box? Somehow we have the association that to do anything within is to risk engaging our own madness. That is absolutely not true. In the silence, we also find great tranquility. We discover how we really think or feel about the matters in our life, whether small or large, pleasant or challenging, earthly or divine. Silence is also the bliss of just entering into your Castle, as Teresa of Avila describes the soul. Few actions are as restful, at least to me, as preventing outside influences from entering my interior silence.
Hopefully this Salon has inspired you enough to want to introduce the practice of profound silence into your life. The following are suggestions that I promise will only enhance your daily life.
Words are power.
Become mindful of your words and why you choose the words you do to communicate your feelings and your thoughts. Observe the effect of the power contained within words. Study your own motivations and private agendas – why do you do and say what you do? This is how you excavate who you really are deep inside. (And don’t assume that you’ll be disappointed with yourself. You may discover that you are a jewel of a person.)
Set aside time for reflection in silence.
Why did you do what you did today? Did you sense guidance around you? At any time, were you acting out of fear? Love? Anger? Enthusiasm? What are your motivators?
Most people define speaking their truth as the right to complain when they are hurt or to speak up when offended. But speaking truth transcends pain. To speak truth is to be a congruent person; it requires that you not compromise your honor, integrity, or spiritual ideals in all of your actions, thoughts, and words. Speaking your truth is a spiritual path of personal empowerment, not permission to expose anger or wounds.
Refrain from the misuse of words.
Keep silent if what you are about to say can harm another, such as gossip or exaggeration. (What goes around comes around, after all.) Think before you speak. Do you really want to say what you are about to say? The Native American tradition has a proverb: “Think twice before you speak, and then say nothing.” Do you use the silent treatment as punishment? If so, remember the harm it does to both you and the other individual involved. FYI: psychically, the communication lines remain open even if you are not speaking to someone in anger, so just be aware that the silent treatment is not really silent. Better to inform an individual that you need to withdraw from him or her in order to gather your own thoughts back together.