From birth, our minds are constantly being bombarded with information. As human beings, we have been subject to more conditioning than we might realize. Who are you? Which group(s) do you identify yourself with? What do you think about on a daily basis?
I read an article that stated that the average human has between 60,000 to 80,000 thoughts per day. This range breaks down to 2500 to 3300 thoughts per day. These thoughts can range from serious issues to mundane nonsense.
Thoughts become things. We are creators by nature. The thoughts that we give the most attention to , whether consciously or unconsciously, are the “building blocks” used to create the situations that manifest in our physical reality. Notice that I mentioned consciously AND unconsciously. Most of us are not aware of our thoughts while many of us suppress the emotions tied to them. This habit can prove to be counterproductive to our well being. There is too much “chatter”. This “noise” can foster stress within us. We get up with the daily routine of life while missing the beauty of the simple things that we take for granted every day. We become more like human “doings” rather than human beings. Life becomes a daily grind. What is the need of the hour?… Silence. The key to true inspiration and empowerment is found in mastering our thoughts.
The Power of Silence
Whether you call it meditation or , simply, being quiet has significant benefits that become more evident through consistent practice. Practicing silence helps you to pay more attention to what goes in and comes out of your mind. You learn to monitor your thoughts. As you become more conscious of your thoughts, you develop the ability to choose which thoughts serve you as opposed to the thoughts that sabotage you. Remember that all forms of success originate in the mind. It is also important to remember that our physical health is directly connected to to our state of mind. There are no exceptions. Toxic thoughts lead to toxic emotions which lead to the manifestation of dis-ease in the body. Toxic thoughts foster fear, hatred, anxiety, jealousy, anger, greed, selfishness and the like. You can appear to be the nicest person in the world yet humor thoughts of fear, anxiety , insecurity and guilt. Thinking these types of thoughts consistently can have damaging effects on your physical well being.
The Benefits of Silence
- Sitting silently can relieve stress. Whether being exposed to actual noise or experiencing stressful events, the body response by releasing stress hormones. According to an earlier research study, practicing silence can release tension in both the body and brain as quickly as two minutes. It has been shown to lower blood pressure and improve blood circulation in the brain.
- Spending several minutes a night before bedtime can also improve sleep. Mindfulness meditation has proven to be an effective practice for this purpose. This form of meditation involves focusing on your breathing as well as bringing your mind’s attention to the present moment rather than dwelling on the nonexistent past or future. Remaining present breaks the chain of unproductive “chatter” while producing a state of relaxation .
- Practicing silence can also increase brain growth by creating new cells in the hippocampus region of the brain. According to a study published in the journal titled ” Brain Structure and Function”, this part of the brain is directly linked to a person’s ability to learn, memory and emotions.
How to Practice an Hour of Silence Every Day
- Focus on scheduling your hour of silence at a specific time every day.
- Avoid all distractions. Turn off all electrical devices( TV, computer, radio, etc).
- If possible, designate a specific location for your silent hour. Focus on sitting quietly and resting.
- Engage in activities that don’t require engaging with others, using words or seeing others. Recommended activities include gentle housekeeping( dish washing,laundry, etc,) or gardening.
- Connect with nature. Consider taking long walks . It is a good way to clear your mind as well as good exercise.
- Stay in the present moment. The goal is to “release” your mind from thinking. Thoughts may enter your mind. Acknowledge them and allow them to “float away”. Do not make a judgement. you are not your thoughts.
- Focus on your breathing while staying mindful of the silence.
- At the end of your time, focus on gratitude. Give thanks. Consider verbalizing these two words: “Thank You”.
You might not be able to practice silence for an entire hour. That’s okay. The key is to start where you are at and stay consistent. Relax. Start, but don’t try to muscle it. It shouldn’t be burdensome. Be gentle with yourself. Focus more on reaping the benefits of this mindful practice. I wish you well. Until next time…