Silence Can Change Your Life
Silence is the simplest and most natural way to quiet the mind and calm your emotions. This is a simple truth that has profound consequences. It’s amazing what you can achieve if you learn to stay quiet and still. Not as an act of containing yourself or repressing your feelings, but as a way of intelligently dealing with all kinds of situations. If you let it, silence can change your life.
We’re not exaggerating by saying that anyone can change their life if they make space for silence. This is because silence can help you avoid conflicts and guilt. Also, it makes it possible to find clarity and balance. In fact, many people define Zen as the ability to stay quiet and still.
Everything about modern society seems to go against peacefulness, silence, and simplicity. You’re constantly surrounded by stimuli, experiences, and noise. Human beings tend to be stuck in patterns of accumulation, which lead to restlessness. It’s easy to feel unsatisfied, no matter how much experience, money, or success you’ve had. The reason is simple: we’ve all forgotten what’s essential in life.
The apparent goal of scientific advances is to make life easier. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. This is because simplicity is a concept that lives in people’s minds and hearts. It isn’t something you can buy.
Many contemporary inventions specifically exist to save us time. Time is life, and people pursue innovation so we don’t have to waste time doing repetitive things that don’t contribute anything to your growth. However, instead of taking advantage of this incredible opportunity, we use our “free time” to give in to compulsions, meaningless and trivial activities, and automatisms.
It’s as if we’re terrified of leaving blank spaces in our schedules. We’re obsessed with filling the voids. Also, this is another reason why silence has become intolerable for many people. They believe they should always be reacting, talking, or listening to something.
Some people have a panic attack when they realize they can’t find their phone. That’s because the virtual silence from the thing they’re obsessed with is unbearable.
A simple life
You probably unnecessarily complicate things in your life. Most people do. You fill your life with non-transcendent objects, desires, and actions. S ometimes, when you feel the weight of all the situations that are pressing down on you, you end up buying a new object or toy to avoid the discomfort. You forget that the key isn’t how many material things you have. On the contrary, the key to peace and happiness is getting rid of what you don’t need.
A simple life consists of only having what you need. You eat when you’re hungry, and you stop eating when you’re full. You sleep when you’re tired, and you wake up when you need to wake up. You work, love, and enjoy your free time.
Simplicity is about going back to basics. Part of the secret to living this way is giving silence a space in your life. This way, you make your mind and heart operate in a slower rhythm.
The fullness of silence
Silence can change your life because, when you’re silent, you rediscover the essential parts of yourself. Zen teacher Jorge Bustamante points out that silence and stillness go hand in hand. How can you stay still? Simply stop moving. If you stop moving, your inner stillness will come naturally.
Your problems aren’t related to the things you have or don’t have, your job, or the situations you’ve experienced in your life. Instead, they’re related to your frenetic desire to reach something external before you quiet your inner self. This desire is a bottomless pit. You’ll never be satisfied with what you find there. Thus, you’ll always want to keep looking.
Silence and stillness help calm this chaotic and insatiable desire. They help cultivate the inner peace you need. When you foster silence and stillness in your life, you’ll be able to better identify what’s essential and what’s unnecessary. As a result, you’ll have greater clarity and make better decisions. Silence speaks volumes. It talks to you. Why aren’t you listening?
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- Noelle-Neumann, E. (1995). La espiral del silencio. Barcelona: Paidós.