“The way to silence ….is to meditate. And what is the way to meditate? To be silent!”
Dear Integral Meditators,
Silence is a skill that you could build basic competence at if you devoted 5mins a day for the next month to it. Are you up for the challenge? Read the article below to get started!
In the spirit of silence,
The way to silence
….is to meditate. And what is the way to meditate? To be silent!
This is a fun little paradox, and it is worth exploring a little more.
Silence is at a premium
These days our heads are very full of noise, and there is the incessant information coming at us from our environment, the internet and our phones. Because of this, and also because of our identification and addiction to thoughts and information, many people find it impossible to silence their mind to the extent that they don’t even want to try as the results are so discouraging. Because of this accessing silence well is a premium skill that has particular value for us.
How to meditate
To meditate in the simplest terms is to be present to your immediate experience, and be aware of that experience. This means to gather your attention away from ideas and concepts of past and future, and let your attention rest in the present. Then what you need to do is avoid falling asleep, or dozing off! So, meditation is the space between thinking/concepts and sleep/inertia; holding that space, and being alert and aware in that space. If you start practicing this you will discover that this space is also a silent one, or that there is silence present in that space.
It’s helpful for thought reduction to relax your brain. Our brain is our organ of thought, so if you relax, the number of thoughts that you have is correspondingly reduced. If you focus attention on your physical brain, breathe in be aware of any tension in it, breathe out release that tension, after a short while you will notice the difference.
So, if you sit in meditation like this, you’ll start to notice little patches of silence. Maybe they are only a few seconds long before you get distracted, but as long as you keep practicing, the patches of silence will grow. You will also notice that you don’t ‘create’ silence, its already there underneath the noise. When you relax and become present, the silence reveals itself right there, without you ‘doing’ anything. Whenever you enter into silence (or even just a little bit more silent than before), you will notice that it is relaxing, regenerative and helps you find a sense of basic sanity.
Silence is a space of no-thing, the point is there is nothing there. Moving deeper into silence, we discover that it also creates spaces that help us to imagine our life and our way of going and being in a new way. It is generative, from silence and being, our process of becoming starts to evolve.
Silence also creates singularity, focus. All our energy gathers into the silence, we become integrated, powerful. The side effect of this during the day is that it becomes easier to focus on tasks, there is less inner interference and we become more effective in life.
Silence amidst the noise
After a while you will notice that the silence is always there. You can ‘hear’ it even when your surrounded by noise and are thinking actively. It becomes something that you can dip into at will, which is a pleasure that also gives rise to confidence and, (in my experience) a sense of humour and playfulness.
I’ll leave you with a short story from Anthony De Mello’s ‘One minute wisdom’, Enjoy the silence!
The Governor on his travels stepped in to pay homage to the Master.
“Affairs of State leave me no time for lengthy dissertations,” he said. “Could you put
the essence of religion into a paragraph or two for a busy man like me?”
“I shall put it into a single word for the benefit of Your Highness.”
“Incredible! What is that unusual word?”
“And what is the way to Silence?”
“And what, may I ask, is meditation?”
Related article: Meditating on the sound of silence
Overview: The Wisdom of Awakening series is an ongoing series that looks at different ways to ‘wake up’ and live your life fully and playfully through meditation. The premise of the sessions is that inner wholeness and wisdom are not something that are far away, rather they are something that we can awaken to ‘instantly’ through certain types of mindful attention…. Read full details
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All upcoming classes and workshops at IMA:
Ongoing – Weekly Tuesday, Wednesday Online class schedule
Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby (Bukit Timah)
Ongoing on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby (East Coast)
Starts Tuesday /Wednesday 14/15th June – The Wisdom of Awakening series: Meditations for irreverent clarity & authentic vigilance
Saturday August 27th, 9.30-11.30am – Monthly Qi Gong & Taoist Breathwork Clinic & Mini-retreat
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