(source : Tumblr on We Heart It. http://weheartit.com/entry/79669812)
The Yogic sages say that all the pain of a human life is caused by words, as is all the joy. We create words to define our experience and those words bring attendant emotions that jerk us around like dogs on a leash. We get seduced by our own mantras (I’m a failure… I’m lonely… I’m a failure… I’m lonely…) and we become monuments to them. To stop talking for a while, then, is to attempt to strip away the power of words, to stop choking ourselves with words, to liberate ourselves from our suffocating mantras.
I once read that silence is only frightening to those who are compulsively verbalizing. I was one of those people. Following up on my previous post on being still, I would like to share another amazing experience I had at the Buddhist retreat. I was in silence for a month. I was allowed to read, write, ask my teacher questions if need be and there was also a one hour group discussion session with my retreat classmates but other than this all of us were asked to maintain silence. Being an extremely communicative person I thought this would be very hard but strangely when I was in retreat the last thing I wanted to do was talk. Maybe it was the space I was in, the teachings I was getting but being granted the gift of silence seemed like such a luxury that I held on to tightly. And when I stopped talking, all my other senses also got to relax and this created such a big space inside of me to be able to listen to whatever was happening in me. It was wonderful and overwhelming at the same time. I had never been silent for so long in my life!
Only after being in silence for a month I realized how much our senses are completely bombarded by noise of all kinds. Our whole lives are spent being surrounded by internal and external noises. And not only that but this constant need to express oneself at all times. Don’t get me wrong communication is very important but is most of it even necessary I started to ask myself.
When you are in silence you actually listen. Not the kind of listening where you are mentally trying to come up with your own responses and feel compelled to talk. No, but just to listen and be completely present.
In silence it was amazing because I reflected much more on what my reactions would have been to a certain situation or what someone had said to me if I was allowed to talk. I had much time to reflect on my reactive nature and to understand myself much better. I feel that without silence, contemplation of one’s true nature is rather difficult.
I also started to notice things around me and in me that I had never paid attention to me before. How my breath sounded, how my stomach sounded when I ate and of course the sounds of nature from raindrops to monkeys- I was open to all the sounds around me without trying to form an opinion about them.
In silence somehow a space was created to enjoy where I was and also I felt like I had time to do so many other things since I was not talking. Constant verbalizing makes it very difficult to silence the mind and thus even harder to practice stillness so I was grateful for this opportunity. Coming out from the retreat and back into the world of words was not so difficult to adjust to but I realized I was being so much more mindful of the actions of my body, speech and mind.