How to Create Silence and Benefit from It

Being silent sounds easy. You’re probably thinking “All I need to do is sit still and do nothing. I don’t need to read anything about how to be silent.”

Very well, try it now for a moment. Set a timer for 2 minutes.

Just sit still. Don’t move.

Don’t think about anything but the present moment. Take away all worries, all responsibilities; flush it out of your mind – now.

Focus on your breathing. Notice how air goes into your nose, into your lungs, and how it comes back out.

Focus on your breathing until the alarm goes off.

Felt uncomfortable? That’s because we were conditioned that doing nothing and being quiet is being unproductive and boring so we never try and experience it.

Yes, that may be true, if we overuse silence.

But a little quiet reflection every day, 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening, is very important for our holistic growth.

The World and Its Noise

Silence should be simple. But in our busy, technology-obsessed world it has become one of the hardest things to achieve.

Even if we take away our eyes from the computer, cell phone, or TV screen, the “screen in our minds” continues to flash images, judgments, dreams, frustrations, and expectations of ourselves and of others.

Too often our minds hurry ahead to what we should be doing. Once our day begins we race around like hamsters on a spinning wheel, rarely getting an opportunity to just sit and think.

Many people are actually afraid of silence. I don’t know if their fear stems from that feeling of being useless, or are they just scared to find out what their inner selves will tell them.

They feel the need to fill that void of silence. That’s why there are so many TVs left turned on with no one watching, just for background noise.

Why Silence is Important

Silence allows us to be in the moment and become more aware.

When we quietly reflect, our thoughts focus on our souls and refuel our minds. When we only have our thoughts for company, we clearly see what is going on with our life.

We may not always like what we see, and maybe that is why we seek distractions and are afraid of silence.

But that should not be the case. For one thing, we should welcome it so we can know ourselves better and then plan how to improve.

How Do We Create Silence

1. Unplug yourself.

Turn off the TV, radio, computer, cell phone, and other gadgets for a while. These days, a fasting on Facebook makes sense. There are numerous online reports that these social media sites make our lives miserable by encouraging a compare-and-compete culture.

Unplugging may seem scary because of our self-made need of being constantly updated. In reality, this need is an illusion. Just a decade ago this problem of missing-out-on-something is inexistent.

Back then, we update with our family and friends face-to-face, or via phone and email. I actually appreciate those channels more than posting something personal for an impersonal world to see and comment.

2. Subtract instead of add.

This is a principle of minimalism. Eliminating the unnecessary things in life to focus on the necessary.

Pare down your possessions to what you only need. Take away activities that don’t align with your values. If you will look at it closely, the more you have and the more you do, the more stressed and depressed you become.

When we concentrate on the most important, we will have more time to be still and reflect, but still live a life of lasting impact.

3. Slow down, judge less, appreciate more.

Right now, stop whatever it is that you’re doing. For a moment, stop looking at the faults of others or complaining about your circumstance.

For a moment, say thank you that you are alive right now. Say thank you that you are breathing. Yes, say thank you. Don’t just say it in your mind, open your mouth and speak.

Thank you that I’m alive right now. Thank you that I can breathe.

Come on, see the result.

4. Realize that silence is beautiful.

Don’t be afraid of being alone, but be careful. Silence is beautiful only in awareness. Silence is not emptying the mind, but resting the mind.

Let your mind talk and talk until it subsides. Do this with a prayerful attitude and you’ll find out more about yourself than ever. Learn to listen and appreciate the quiet.

Time for a Quiet Reflection

Taking time out in quiet reflection is essential for personal and spiritual growth. It’s sad that too few are enjoying the benefits of this wonderful habit. I encourage you to practice this regularly. You’ll be amazed by the outcome.
“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass – grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence... We need silence to be able to touch souls.” – Mother Theresa