Do you love to commiserate about your problems? Venting feels great, but surprisingly it’s not as effective as silence in giving you the answers you need.
Sometimes, talking about a problem out loud can spark ideas for solutions, and hearing advice from someone can be exactly what you’re looking for. Plus, there’s the emotional support you get from talking about your problems.
But at the end of the day, you need to hear the answer, but also to draw upon your own strength to do something about it.
Does silence come easily for you? Do you feel the need to fill silence with sound, whether it’s the chatter in your mind, music, or background TV? If you’re not used to it, silence is disconcerting.
What happens when there is silence? In silence, you aren’t burdened by racing thoughts that are focused on worries and problems. In silence, you can focus. In silence, you receive answers. In silence, your mind is clear.
There is a wonderful energy to silence. Imagine a small pond. If you stir the water you can’t see the bottom; but if you let the water settle, you can see every plant, rock, fish, frog… and beautiful reflections on the pond’s surface.
When does silence give you strength?
1. During arguments: the ego loves to argue because it just has to be right – but when someone is yelling at you and trying to start an argument or trying to back you into a corner where you have to react… silence takes away all of their power to intimidate you. If you can muster the courage to simply stare at them and say nothing, you keep all your energy – you have given yourself a chance to gather your thoughts and choose your response, instead of doing exactly what they want, which is react.
2. When someone is talking: many of us jump in too quickly before the other person is really done speaking. Be a great listener; stay silent, using just your facial expressions and gestures to let them know you are really hearing what they’re saying. People will appreciate that you are a good listener.
3. When you need answers. You can’t hear answers through noise, so give yourself a chance by minimizing both inner and outer noise. It takes strength to be quiet and listen.
4. When you are stressed, overwhelmed, worried or anxious. Letting your mind run with your worries only creates turbulence that doesn’t allow you to hear answers, or even get your emotions under control so you can have a better response. You increase your personal power by choosing your response rather than reacting automatically!
How to cultivate silence:
1. Meditate. There’s no better way to cut through the noise than meditation. While you may or may not actually achieve a completely silent chatter-free mind, the chatter will definitely be less intrusive – more like clouds floating by than rain in your face. It will feel quieter, only because you don’t engage in your thoughts and let them float right by.
2. Turn off the background music and TV. Help yourself become comfortable with silence. Many urban dwellers don’t have much quiet in their lives because of normal urban noise, but it may be worthwhile to invest in a pair of earplugs to have some true quiet time for a few minutes a day.
3. Unplug your electronics. Don’t let the insistent alerts on your phone disturb your reverie or your immersion in a hobby or project! You get to choose when you wish to be contacted, and it doesn’t have to be all day, every day.
4. Spend time in Nature. While Nature isn’t silent by any means, you can silence your mind by actively listening to Nature’s sounds. Try picking out as many sounds as you can, while you’re sitting or walking outdoors.
Silence, when you get used to it, is pure bliss. Enjoy!