Find Your True Self Through Silence

Medically reviewed in July 2021

Have you ever spent time with someone you love and just shared the silence of the moment together? Not that uncomfortable silence where someone is angry or awkwardly uncomfortable, but the kind of silence that allows you to feel each other deeply and profoundly. You may feel the urge to say something, but the quiet is so profound that you surrender to the silence.

Many great spiritual traditions honor the practice of silence as a way to deepen the connection to our innermost selves. Practicing silence helps us bridge our outer life with our inner life and prepares the mind and heart for meditation. When we speak, our energy travels outward with our words. When we observe silence, we stop the drain of energy through our speech and we can use that energy to explore the depths of our inner world.

With conscious silence we stop giving in to the urge to respond to everything around us and we begin to quiet the rumblings of our own minds. We can’t always quiet our external world, but we can connect to a place inside of us that is silent and still. We begin to recognize that all sound is born out of silence, and when we are in that silence we can feel our connection to all things.

In his book, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose, author and teacher Eckhart Tolle suggests that we pay attention to outer silence as a way to connect to our inner silence and that just by this mere attention to outer silence we can become aware of the nature of sound and silence in our lives.

How to Practice Silence
(Some suggestions from Swami Sivananda) 

  1. Schedule your silence at a particular time when life is not pulling on you. It may be an hour or longer.
  2. During that time, turn off the phone, TV, radio, computer, and all other communication devices. Put down all books and other reading material.
  3. Sit quietly and rest—or look carefully at a natural object—or engage in work that does not require you to hear, see, or express words. Gentle housekeeping or gardening can be excellent activities to do in silence, or taking a long walk in nature.
  4. Listen to the silence and try to enjoy a respite from thinking, reviewing, planning, and imagining. Stay in the present moment.
  5. Breathe deeply and mindfully, bringing in the silence and expelling mental “noise.”
  6. At the end of your of silence, let your first word be an expression of gratitude or love

The Benefits of Silence

  • Calms the heart and nervous system
  • Allows your fuse to get longer when you step out of your need to respond
  • Connects you to your innermost awareness
  • Bridges the gap between daily life and meditation
  • Improves mindfulness practices
  • Restores harmony and balance to your otherwise busy life

The more you practice silence the more your mind will search for the silence between sounds. You will find yourself naturally slipping into the still and quiet spaces of your own heart to rest and take refuge.

Looking for other ways to live a healthier, happier life? Reverse heart disease and diabetes, lose weight and reduce stress with these tips from Dean Ornish.

This content was originally published on Ornish Living.

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