This is all you need to do in order to begin cultivating a practice of silence in your daily life.
- Pick a time during the day when you are alone in your own space. It might be when you are getting dressed in the privacy of your closet, or in the car while sitting in traffic, or while brushing your teeth, or whatever time is routine for you where you are alone.
- Turn on some source of sound. I turn on the radio in the car or the news when I am in the kitchen/living room. When I am putting on make up in the bathroom, I will turn on the sink faucet or the tub faucet. If I am no where near sound, I will sing a song (but not one that is slow and sweet, one that is upbeat like pop or rock, etc). The point is to introduce some loud background noise.
- Consider silence for a moment, in the midst of the noise. Don’t do this for too long- just a few breaths. Try and pay attention to your internal silence while the background noise is going on. (NOTE: I often begin this process here at step 3. The first 2 steps don’t have to be intentional. Sometimes I will realize suddenly while I am doing my daily routine that I am alone and that there is background noise and that interior silence is present.)
- Turn off the source of the noise and pay attention to the transition! That’s the sweet spot, y’all. In the first moments when you notice that there is an absence of noise, silence is amplified. It won’t last because your mind will quickly take over and fill the empty space with mental noise of it’s own. That is ok and normal. I usually turn the noise back on after only a few minutes because the sweet moments of amplified silence fade so fast.
The point is not the length of the silence. The point, y’all, is the quality of the silence. If you do this once or twice today, you’ll be gaining brief moments of stillness that have the potential to draw you in, to draw you closer to the source of stillness and to entice you to pause more often.
Try it and then come back and let me know about your experience. I would love to hear if it works as well for you as it does for me. And maybe you have other ways you introduce silence into your life. What else works?
~Sweet Georgia Pam