People on the spiritual path often take a vow of silence, getting deep introspection into both inner and outer reflections. But how long does a vow of silence need to be? Can we get the benefits of a long term vow of silence in a short period of time?
What happens when a person is silent for a long period? Outer noise goes first then, inner noise diminishes. When quiet is allowed to reign, sound takes on a new quality. Especially sounds in nature: the breeze, the rustle of leaves. Silence makes room for a deeper listening and can lead to a profound inner calm.
You don’t have to be a monk or live in a monastery to take a vow of silence. It’s easy enough to change your outlook on silence by simply saying “I will not talk for one day”. If one day is too much, then dedicate just one hour.
To attain complete silence, turn off the television or any noisy appliances and just be; or you can busy yourself with some kind of chore in silence. If something comes up and you need to speak, say as little as possible and then resume your vow of silence. This can have a profound effect on your state of mind and your outlook on dialogue – especially your internal dialogue.
During times when I have taken even a short vow of silence, I have discovered for myself how special words really are. When your vow of silence is complete, it may sound funny but words become special again; they are no longer taken for granted. I would encourage anyone to give this a try. It’s as easy as deciding to do it and then following through. Try it today for the next hour: make a promise to yourself that you will be in complete silence for just one hour and see what happens.
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