Body Mind Spirit™ Articles
Listening to Silence
by Susan deCaussin
The same way that good food nourishes and fuels our bodies, what we see, read, and hear, has a direct impact on the health of our mind.
Although we can’t always control everything that we’re exposed to, there are many opportunities each day to choose positive ways to enrich our thoughts. Choosing an uplifting spiritual book over a reality TV show is one way, but choosing silence over noise is just as important and effective, when it comes to feeding our consciousness.
Meditation is one easy way to incorporate silence into your day. Many of you may say, “I’ve tried to meditate, but it just doesn’t work for me!” I hear this a lot. However, those who agree with that statement, are the ones who need it the most. There’s an old Zen saying that states, “You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day, unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour”. I couldn’t agree more!
Much of the frustration experienced by those new to meditation, comes from their approach. Many believe that, for a successful session, they must be able to totally purge all thought from their mind, leaving it completely blank. When thoughts wander in, as inevitably they do, those people sabotage their experience by labeling it a failure. Realistically, meditation is more about silent observation than erasing all thought.
If, during your session, you notice your mind wandering off, the best thing you can do is to gently sweep those rogue thoughts aside, like chalk off a chalk board, and continue forward. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Instead, congratulate yourself for recognizing the stray thoughts and return to being in the present moment. THAT’S what meditation is REALLY about – letting go of everything and just being in, and observing, the present moment.
I feel so strongly about the importance of meditation and sitting in silence, that I produced my own meditation CD a few years ago. It instructs the listener, in advance of the session, on how to prepare themselves and their environment; provides a voice-guided track, for those who are new, or returning to the art; and, includes a track of soothing tones, which allows the listener to create their own, unique self-guided experience.
When starting out, a guided soundtrack is best. It’s also good for those who are returning to meditation after a long period of time. By listening to the direction of a voice-guided session, you’re blocking the opportunity to wander off in thought about a past or future event. It keeps you engaged in the experience of the present moment.
Clients will often ask me when they should move from a voice-guided experience to a self-guided one. I say, “When the voice becomes annoying to you, and is seeming to interrupt your experience, you’re ready to move on to a self-guided session.”
With practice, you’ll be able to meditate several times a day, in just about any location you choose. Dr. Wayne Dyer used to say that one good time to meditate is while sitting at a red light. He laughed and said, “Don’t worry about watching for the light to turn green – if you miss it, the person behind you will gladly remind you!”
So, make sure to feed your consciousness a healthy diet by exposing it to positive experiences throughout your day and leaving time to sit in silence. As you are able to release the mind of all busy thoughts and learn to be in the “now”, you’ll be surprised at what Divine Guidance will become available to you.