Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Power of Being Silent

While in the woods, I once again took a vow of silence for a time. Every vow of silence has been its own set of experiences and lessons about the self and others. This year's silence was primarily centered on how the mind operates and how, with intention and focus, we can affect change in our own mind.

Hours into the time of silence, we began to see our body-mind connection strengthen. As we moved down these woodland paths, we saw our body automatically alter movement, even mid-stride, to avoid harming ourselves. There was a sense of intuition; a direct connection between observations and action.

Having thoughts, turning those thoughts into words and sentences and then verbalizing them properly with speech requires a great deal of mental resources. If we shut off the mouth valve, to some degree mental resources become freed up. Those additional resources then can be used in different mental activities.

This is similar to how the brain reacts to losing one of our senses. It adapts by intensifying the other senses and redirecting those mental resources, even those same mental pathways, for use in other ways. The same principle is applicable with vows of silence.

In our modern day life, it can be difficult to take vows of silence. Mostly, even while we're attempting to listen to what someone is saying, we're already writing the response to what they haven't finished saying. If anything, maybe we can vow to keep our internal writing and responding to a minimum when talking with another.

Try to focus the mind on only what the person is saying and not how it's wrong, or how it's right or what we would say in response. This is not at all easy or simple, but it is worthwhile to see how we listen and how we don't listen at all. With patience and perseverance, we can limit thinking when we should be listening.


  1. Only in silence can we feel spiritual growth and experience calmness.. In all of the hurrying of our society today, we all could benefit from vows of silence. It is wise to not focus on if you agree with a person's thoughts or actions, because you cannot change, modify, or encourage them to action. Only they can do that for themselves. Having someone to listen might allow them to form their own solutions to their problems and help them realize opportunities that do exist right in front of them. w/L meg

  2. I've had a silent day or two in the woods. It is always hardest on know your talent night.

  3. I missed no talent night this year, but so glad others enjoyed it in my absence. Hopefully, your silence has strengthened your voice.