Thursday, December 21, 2000

The Power of Silence

It's December and Jersey and I are once again able to walk in the woods. There's snow on the ground and the sun is out for the first time in weeks as we walk the creek that flows by our house on its way to the Manistee River. Walking in the woods is something the dog and I generally do every day. But we've been away from it for over two weeks as we waited the passing of firearm deer season here in Northern Michigan. Now that we're walking again, I'm noticing the silence more acutely and appreciating it more fully.

Silence is so much more than lack of sound. In fact there is sound on our walks. We can hear the creek, birds, feet crunching on the snow and the wind in the trees. But as I continue to walk in this “natural silence,” I notice my heart rate decreasing, my steps slowing and ultimately my thoughts ceasing. I am again finding the internal silence that comes from a dumping of thoughts and concerns. At the same time, I'm feeling more full; full of potential, full of awareness, full of appreciation, clarity, focus, purpose and full of options and choice.

Many people feel uncomfortable with silence and are tempted to fill it. And heading in to this busy holiday season, we will all tolerate way too much noise. Studies have proven that daily silence improves a person's wellness both physically and emotionally. So the first step is to develop an appreciation for the grace that comes from silence.

“Silence is the true friend that never betrays.” ~Confucius

“Some people talk because they think sound is more manageable than silence.” ~Margaret Halsey

“Don't speak unless you can improve on the silence.” ~Spanish Proverb

“In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

“Silence is more musical than any song.” ~Christina Rossetti

“There is no need to go to India or anywhere else to find peace. You will find that deep place in silence right in your room, your garden or even your bathtub.” ~Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

“True silence is the rest of the mind; it is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment. ~William Penn

“Silence is the mother of truth.” ~Disraeli

Intentionally set aside moments of stillness and silence each day. Here are my top five suggestions.

  1. Observe nature. Choose to observe anything in nature, a tree, a stream, a lake, the clouds, wind in the trees or even the night sky. Fall in to the soothing repetition of nature and notice the changes in your body, especially your breathing.
  2. Turn it off. Turn off the TV, radio, computer, even the lights. Sit in the stillness.
  3. Mediate. There are numerous ways to meditate. Find the way that best fits you.
  4. Breathe deeply. Breathe from your abdomen. Breathe with an inward focus.
  5. Find time each day to be alone uninterrupted. I've read that we become most like the five people we spend the most time with. One of those people had better be you.

See you in 2001. May you experience a wealth of silence now and in the year to come. Love, Deb