THE POWER OF SILENCE: 5 WAYS THAT SILENCE CAN BE ACHIEVED (Issue 23)
by Diane Gold
The Power of Silence? What’s that, you might say! When we take away distraction, our vibrant power expands or just remains. Removing the noise from our lives serves us well.
Let’s picture a dam and what happens to the water. We stop the water from moving by placing a barrier up, the water is contained but its momentum builds up at the point of the dam. The same thing happens when we create silence by first removing noise from our mental and physical environments. We build up energy by not wasting it unnecessarily and by learning to focus it.
Think about what would happen if we did not rest. I know I, myself, accustomed to a certain amount of sleep, always know when I have too little. I bow to those who regularly complete missions with little or no sleep. We wouldn’t go without rest, though, right? And our bodies and minds tell us we need it. So, why would we go without silence and relaxation?
Let’s look at how beneficial it would be to plan silence for ourselves. We realize that we need to take periodic breaks. Do we realize these breaks are from the noise in our head from meaningless conversation or the noise at our place of work or school? It is no coincidence that there are thousands of retreat centers, a growing number of tai chi, yoga and meditation centers and more active attention on personal development training all over the world and tai chi and meditation in elementary schools. The growth of these quieting activities directly relates to the growing noise level in our everyday lives, be it from information overload online, local gossip or the 200 ads a day targeted at making us consumers of some 200 products that distract us from our one-pointed focus.
From music therapy training, we know that noise or music that is forced upon us and not to our liking causes agitation, aggression, anxiety, general deterioration of motivation. In tai chi, we know that the use of silence or soft sounds makes people calm and helps them learn to flow and relax and to understand that relaxation augments power. We build silence into every session of tai chi, during a music therapy session between the sounds, in meditation training and at retreats.
In the same way that silence is built into these formal trainings, we naturally are attracted to it because we like feeling renewed and balanced. Tranquility in our environment usually includes some type of silence so that our minds can re-energize, almost like a battery’s re-charging. When we expend energy, whether it is by listening or by creating; we need a way to rejuvenate and replenish ourselves. Many times a day. That way is through silence.
Below are 5 simple examples of being in silence, that will work in most situations for most people. We are all in different circumstances, so we may have to make certain adjustments. Whether we are at work; school; in detention; not able to walk, in active military duty; we usually have a free 30 to 45 seconds. We are the best judge of this.
Even though there may be elevator music in a bathroom, it is a place that is usually free from constant chatter and other people. If there are stalls in the facilities, we can go inside one. Then we are in our own private cocoon and can use it to our advantage.
Standing with our knees bent, butt tucked, feet shoulder width apart, shoulders over hips, facing away from the toilet; we can take 30 to 45 seconds to look straight ahead. The idea is to let the serenity of solitude allow the mind to be silent and regroup.
There may always be sounds from other people’s closing doors, gossiping, blow dryers; but we have just begun taking an active part in creating silence for ourselves. With repetition, we will feel the difference and will achieve resetting ourselves with our own power. And we might get lucky and be alone in the bathroom.
We don’t need a beautiful park with a pristine lake and humming birds to grab a taste of silence. We should watch out for nature’s creatures who protect their territory with a vengeance (yes, I had to take down 3 wasp’s nests today to protect my cats and the roofers). Just the nature of stepping out of our building or away from our outside workplace gets us into another space, both physically and mentally, even if we just walk two steps away or turn in another direction.
All it takes is a second, but we will take 30 to 45 seconds. The rules are the same. This time, though, we don’t focus on have to choose where to focus. Those 30 to 45 seconds need to be spent with our eyes looking at one point. The position we stand in is knees bent, butt tucked, feet shoulder width apart, shoulders over the hips, facing the least active direction. Relax.
With all the digital material available to us, many under 50 do not automatically turn to the library. When our kids are young, we take them for special reading programs. When we are of public school age (and undergraduate college), we use Wikipedia and textbooks. In higher education, the libraries are so super fantastic, that, and contain a lot of research material.
However, since we are talking about silence, a library is a great place to seek refuge. If we are in school, most schools have a library that offers quietude. If we are at work, most corporations or organizations have a research room, if not a library. These collections are often sitting and waiting for the students or workers in the buildings to come and use the physical area. Using the same physical exercise as in the above sections, take 30 to 45 seconds in the library. The great reset.
Depending upon where we are locationally, we may have a full-sized park with flowers and trees. We may also have a cement wall to bounce a ball from. The same activity can be done at either park. Since the goal is power in silence, we can do 30 to 45 seconds of the same position as above.
In either park, we must focus our attention on a flower or blade of grass, if there is one, or a particular crack in the cement, if our park has an old wall. We can find silence in the act of taking the time to set up the activity. If there is no wall, we can focus our attention 10 feet in front of us at the ground. This will center us. This will bring us silence.
LOOKING AT AN IMAGE
Most of us have a computer. If not, we have a book. We can choose a , there is a local museum or historical society. In most cases, we are welcome to go inside at no charge. We can spend time in this type of establishment doing the same exercise as above in order to create silence for ourselves. Most caretakers of history will be glad to have us as guests. So, it might be the perfect place that is rich in history and respects that history in glorious silence.
There are many opportunities to build silence into our lives. The simple 30 to 45 second breaks are solutions to do so. By being purposeful, we create our horizons. By taking these silence breaks, we revv up our energy. We also become adept at doing it in a 30-second period.
Confucius has been quoted as saying,
“Silence is a true friend who never betrays.”
Although there are many interpretations of this, I see it as meaning that silence will always be good to us and for us because its power is biological. Because it is a scientific truth, it does change or betray, the way of a bad friend. Because it is based upon science, there can be no way the effect of silence can disappear. Therefore, the power of silence is faithful, useful and universal.
This article will be posted at http://warriorsofweight.com/issues in 48 hours. Please leave your comments there or visit on Twitter @warriorsoweight.
DIANE GOLD, AUTHOR
Diane Gold, Founder of Warriors of Weight, Moms For Healthy Daughters, is a mentor in tai chi, kung fu and meditation, a music and stress expert and a dedicated mom. She has learned through her kung fu, tai chi and music training that silence can enhance our power. She says, “We are fortunate, as humans, that we can reset our minds and bodies by a small, incremental step. Silent action is one of the most powerful ways to make this happen. “
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