The Discipline of Silence

Are you aware of all the CHAOS that constantly surrounds us at every moment? We never notice it until a rare moment comes when we find ourselves alone in TOTAL SILENCE.

If you’ve ever had the chance to experience TOTAL SILENCE, it’s amazing at every little detail you hear. Some people can actually HEAR the silence!

[Eds. note: The high-pitched “shhhhh” sound that is heard in total silence is a physiological nerve saturation effect caused by exposure to too much noise!]

Some people cannot tolerate silence for very long. They are so “allergic” to silence that they have to turn on the TV or radio if it gets too quiet. It’s not because they want entertainment, it’s because they need NOISE to be comfortable.

In fact, this phenomena is so widespread, that it even has a popular name. We call these comfortable background sounds, “white noise”, and you can even buy them on CD at the music store!

Does anyone have a white noise addiction?

Why does total silence freak some people out?

Total silence and isolation causes you to face your inner self and think seriously about your life. Most people can’t handle that, because they think that’s worse than DEATH. They instinctually try to avoid that “death” by busying themselves with something else. In fact, ANY other activity or distraction will do.

If you are a person who is restless with silence and isolation, I suggest you take some time to sit alone in total silence and face your worst FEARS. Find a place where no one will disturb you, pull the curtains and lock the door. TURN OFF your mobile, the computer, the TV and stereo, unplug the phone, and eliminate anything else that could be a potential distraction or a source of noise. Find a comfortable chair (but not TOO comfortable) and keep your butt in it for ONE HOUR. If your butt leaves the cushion (or if you fall asleep), then the clock starts over.

Try it. You’ll tell yourself it’s easy, or it’s a waste of time, but you’re only fooling yourself. It will be tougher than you think. Just try it! I dare you.

I always thought I was a very calm person. I even had a reputation among friends and family that nothing could FAZE me. But the first time I tried this, I only lasted 10 minutes before I impulsively jumped up and ran around the room, desperately looking for something to busy myself with. I didn’t have anything in mind to do, so I didn’t understand why I had to get up and DO something. I just felt so NEUROTIC!

When I saw that I couldn’t follow through on my decision to stay in the chair for one hour, I realized there was more to this then you’d normally expect to find. In fact, I had to try this exercise every day for TWO WEEKS before I was able to sit in the chair for ONE HOUR without distraction. At the end of that hour, I was shaking with a self-conscious nervousness, and I leaped out of the chair with a gasp, as soon as the second hand reached the hour.

I thought it would be easy, but it wasn’t. It was harder than my wildest imaginations.

I could have stopped there after my first victory, patting myself on the back and telling myself that I did it, finally. But after I saw how much of a struggle it was for me to simply sit in a chair, it made me realize my true condition – just how anxious and restless I really was!

I made the sad, but fortunate discovery that I am someone who lived out my days, running on some mindless, impulsive habit, and I didn’t even KNOW it!

So upon this revelation, I decided to help myself and do this exercise once or twice a week for several months, until I could MASTER my impulsiveness and anxieties. It might seem like I was only torturing myself, but I’m glad I stuck with it, because now, I no longer feel like my life is RUNNING AWAY from me. I’ve gained a lot of SELF-CONTROL, DETERMINATION and INNER PEACE as a result.

I urge you to try this same exercise. You might be surprised with yourself at first, but I promise you, if you stick with it long enough to become well acquainted with the INSECURITY and IMPETUOSITY of your own emotions, you’ll feel much better about yourself after that.

Best wishes!

[Eds. note: Please comment if you’ve tried this.]

[Eds. note: There are very few books available for additional readings on this subject. The only one I’ve found is “Nurturing Silence in a Noisy Heart”, by Wayne E. Oates.]

About Jack

Jack is a world traveling artist, skilled in trading ideas and information, none of which are considered too holy, too nerdy, nor too profane to hijack and twist into useful fashion. Sigma Frame Mindsets and methods for building and maintaining a masculine Frame
This entry was posted in Conserving Power, Discipline, Inner Game. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Discipline of Silence

  1. JLRP says:

    I tried this once, and for the first 5 minutes, I’d get up and my husband would tell me to sit back down and my time started over again. I really hated it at first, but I vividly remember that my mind was also wondering around, thinking about all the things I still needed to do, and then I’d forget and get up again. But finally, I was able to sit for a few minutes longer until I started to experience peacefulness. I began to realize how restless I was and how uncontrollable my emotions were. Then, later on, I learned to slow down, and enjoy the moments in a slower mode. I had to train myself to control my emotions and I even learned how to slow my anger. In conclusion, I learned that all we really need is to stop and rest. After all, God Himself even told us to “Be still and know that I am God.” It’s worth it just to experience a truly peaceful rest.

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  2. TMG says:

    This is what I call mediation. The first time I did this exercise I was in college. We were asked to lie on the mat, clear our minds, be aware of our surroundings, smells around us, our breathing. At first, I giggled to myself thinking it was silly. My heart was pounding from the anxiety I typically feel. I was nervous with my mind racing thoughts at what felt like millions per second. After 5 minutes I lie there attempting to stop my mind from the racing thoughts of my day such as, “I have laundry to do, I have an assignment, did I schedule the kids appointments, what is for dinner” and so forth. When I was able to calm my mind the oddest thing happened…I cried. No reason, no thoughts, just tears flowing. Cognitively, I couldn't understand what was going on with my body. If you have a “blank” mind why would I be crying? The instructor explained to me that our bodies have strange ways of releasing stress. To me, it still didn't make sense if I wasn't lying there thinking of something to make me cry then why would I be crying? I later learned the physiological reason to that question. I continued to do this however I have gotten away from this personal time I afforded myself. Now I feel the same I used to do with my mind running from me and my life being controlled by external stimuli such as the jobs, chores and other responsibilities of life. I will definately allow myself to find my inner peace because it is the most rewarding exeperience. You feel calm, collected and can handle the chaotic state of life when one has found their inner peace! I encourage all to try this exercise. It not only good for your mind but there are proven medical health advantages too. Thanks ! 🙂

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  3. Pingback: 10 Ways to Increase Dopamine Levels without Medication – Collective Evolution | Σ Frame

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