The simple definition of silence is an absence of sound. An assumption of stillness is also inherently allied with silence, as movement almost always creates some kind of sound. Quiet stillness is a statement of the basic physical fact of what silence is in our environment.
When we choose silence, we are taking this simple idea and expanding it to something bigger that describes a process within us. When we choose silence, we make a deliberate choice to be still and quiet. To choose silence is to be quiet with intent. Silence becomes a way of being and silence can be understood as an inner stillness that is aware. This choice and intent creates a space to ‘be’, a space and time to rest. The space and time to rest allows us to regain our perspective and reconnect with who we really are and who we want to be.
Why choose silence? Making a choice is active, a choice makes it clear what we want to do. Silence can descend upon us unexpectedly in certain places and situations but more likely, we must seek it out. Many strategies for personal growth focus on changing the way we look at or understand a situation. A new perspective or way of thinking about things is always helpful, but this only happens in our head. A physical action, that we undertake with our bodies, reinforces the connection between mind and body. Making a deliberate choice to undertake an activity that involves your body and your mind reinforces a new perspective and the fact that there is a change happening.
Why should you choose silence? You are important. Your health and comfort matter. Your mind and your body need to reconnect. You need to help yourself before you can successfully help others. Prioritise yourself. Make your health and happiness a key performance indicator (KPI) of your life. It only takes a few minutes of focus to bring your body and mind back into balance with each other. Be aware of how you feel and what you need. Take care of yourself.
- Find a place where you can sit or stand undisturbed. This is likely away from people who know you. It can be a toilet cubicle, a park bench, a chair in a book store – it will particularly help if it is somewhere you like to be but anywhere will do in a pinch. If you are worried about time, set your phone or watch alarm for 10 minutes (or however long you have to dedicate right now).
- Stand or sit in a comfortable position – feel your feet against the ground, lean against a wall, rest your head in your hands. What do you need and what can you do right now to be comfortable? Do it.
- Empty your head – detach from thoughts and problems. Your thoughts and problems will still be available to you once this time in silence has passed. If you are unable to stop the flow of thoughts, give your brain something else to work on. Make a list of things bothering you if you must then put it aside. Try humming in your head – choose a pitch and hum without making any noise.
- Focus on your breathing. Take deep and slow breaths. If you have junk in your nose, take the time to clean it out. Feel the air as it moves in your nostrils and into your lungs. Notice if it feels good. If your heart is racing, notice how slow deep breaths will slow down your heartbeat. At this moment, your only concern is your physical comfort and rest.
- Listen to the quiet (or the hum of your physical environment depending on where you are) – don’t detach to the point of falling asleep. Completely immerse your senses in the quiet and your physical presence in the moment. For this moment, time stands still. Just be.
- When you are ready, resume your life. Be grateful for your mind, your body, and all the good things of your life. Have confidence that you can overcome the bad things that trouble you.
- You have chosen silence. Repeat as required.
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