Every now and then, if I’m quiet enough, the deer reward me by coming closer. They allow me to move occasionally, as long as I move slowly and fluidly with no noise and no quick movements. They don’t like the sound of my camera, even from very far away, so having it already on and focused can be a big help. If I’m patient, one will eventually come closer. One time I was even able to pet a deer, but that was just one time and I didn’t have a camera with me because I was practicing silence.
|The rewards of silence.|
Have you practiced silence in your life? It’s not an easy thing to do, although it becomes easier with time if you keep up with it. This can be a very enlightening process. Quite simply, you remain silent. What this means is no talking, no singing, and no excess noise or banging around. You do not use a telephone to talk or to text, and you also stay away from the computer, television, radio, and even cameras. You don’t read a book, either, and you don’t go to the mall. You simply remain as silent as you can and go about your day.
“Go about what day?” you might ask. For most of us, our days include several electronic gadgets, as well as talking, singing, and even fighting. If we didn’t do any of those things, what in the world would we do? Doesn’t everything involve these gadgets and things nowadays?
As it happens, no, everything does not involve gadgets and noise. Simple gardening can be done silently, and so can walking in the woods and snow shoveling. Cooking a good meal can be done silently, and so can laundry and most housecleaning. Meditation is certainly done silently, and so is crocheting and knitting and fishing. Many things can be done without interaction with others or with gadgets.
This does not mean we become antisocial and ignore people. It simply means that we take time now and then to just b e q u i e t. What happens when you’re quiet? At first you start to think of all the things you want to say to everyone. Some people get a little antsy or irritated because they’ve never been alone with themselves without some kind of distraction. It is these distractions--purposely contrived by our society--that prevent us from knowing ourselves. They prevent us from listening to the person inside of us who has been trying to help us all our lives but keeps getting tossed in the corner because the latest movie just came out.
But that person, that “higher self” if you will, is there and has always been there. Sometimes you hear him/her talking to you just as you’re drifting off to sleep. Sometimes you get a fierce warning signal when severe danger is approaching. Sometimes you get a feeling in the pit of your stomach or heart region when you “know” that what you’re doing is very wrong or very right. The higher self is always there, waiting for its chance to talk to you.
So try it sometime. For most people, it will have to be done on a weekend. Some will have to plan more elaborately than others, depending upon how many people are in their household. Summer is a great time to start because you can easily leave the house. Come to think of it, though, winter is a great time, too, because the quiet snow falling can easily lead you into a state of peace and silence. Actually, anytime of year is a good time to start practicing silence.
Start for just a couple of hours at a time, or even one hour if two seems like too much. Gradually work your way up to longer and longer until you can do an entire day. Don’t beat yourself up if something “happens” that forces you to interact. For example, if you’re practicing silence at home and the mailman delivers a package, there’s no need to be rude to him. Whisper a thanks and go back inside. This is not breaking your silence, but it is the only time you should do such a thing. Breaking your silence is deliberately coming out and making noise. Don’t be surprised, though, if at times in the beginning you forget and start talking aloud to yourself. Just chalk it up to inexperience and keep trying. Also, don’t be surprised if you want to burst spontaneously into laughter or tears at different times.
What will your reward be? I can’t say because it’s different for everyone, but you will be rewarded. For starters, your life will become just a little more peaceful, and the insight you gain from shutting up for five minutes could change your circumstances. You will also gain some self confidence because you will realize that you can function without the “help” of gadgets and distractions. Give it a try, and watch the miracles start to happen.