How do I prepare for being in silence?
How to I prepare for being in silence?
With all the distractions that we have today, some intentional preparation is needed to enter silence. Make a date with silence and mark on your calendar. Begin your time in stillness by letting family or colleagues know that you will be temporarily unavailable. Then turn off all electronic devices such as phones, computers, televisions and radios. Silence them completely. Even eliminate vibration so that your attention will not be compromised. Just put a silent timer on for the amount of time you want to sit so your mind is not questioning how long it has been since you unplugged.
(You may also be wondering: When should I stay silent?)
When your environment has been silenced, then the challenging part really begins: silencing the internal environment of the mind, which is known for its continuous chatter and ceaseless noise. Many meditation techniques are helpful, but a good way to move from outer responsiveness to inner silence is through focus on your breath. Take a slow inhalation, then pause and hold your breath momentarily. Exhale even slower than you inhaled. Do this 10 times and watch how the busy mind begins to recede. If thoughts reenter the mind, watch them like passing clouds; noticing them, but not following them. Allow the spaciousness of silence to envelop you in a calm bubble. Return again to the focus on the breath any time thoughts become restless or distracting.
Silence is not easy to attain within. So, why should we take time to try to get quiet if doing so presents such a challenge? It is essential if we wish to know ourselves and to live from our true essence. Silence enables us to hear the prompting of our inner guidance, our intuition. It connects us to our souls and highest truth. Otherwise, we live forever in reactivity to constantly changing stimuli from the world around us, thrown about mentally and emotionally in response. This will not lead us to peace within, but silence surely will.
(Continue reading for the answer to a related question, What are the benefits of silence?)