Friday, October 4, 2013
Letting Silence Speak
Life can be so hectic and noisy, assaulting us from all directions that we forget about the healing power of silence.
And like the woman in the iconic commercial, you want to scream, "Calgon, take me away!"
For centuries, people have used the practice of silence as a rest stop on their spiritual journey. In that silence we nurture our bodies and souls. Here, we can withdraw from the distractions and the noise pollution that can easily overwhelm us. Silence becomes our oasis.
But when we are bombarded on a daily basis with cacophony, silence, as Gunilla Norris observes, "is something like an endangered species. The experience of silence is now so rare that we must guard it and treasure it."
This means we must make time for silence.
We must make room for it in our lives. Literally.
At home, we can usually turn down the noise. If you do not already have a special place designated in your home, why not create one where you can lasso your sanity, rescue your spirit, and give it the care and attention it needs and deserves?
Dedicate a spot in your home as your sacred space. It doesn't have to be an entire room, but if you have a spare room, claim it. If not, your space can be the top of a small table, the corner of a room, a shelf, your walk-in closet, around your bathtub, or any other space that resonates with you. My space is inside my armoire in my bedroom.
If you are in alignment with it, create your own altar. Fill it with personal items that hold significance for you. Select materials that you find tranquil. Besides candles, crystals, and incense, a laughing Buddha, a Tibetan singing bowl, and a Celtic cross grace my space. A silk scarf given to me by Buddhist monks during my stay at the Tengboche monastery high in the Himalayas drapes the cross, and represents the divine in all of us, no matter which sacred tradition, or traditions, we may follow. You can use photos, personal mementos, or fresh flowers. Let it reflect your personality and your beliefs.
Create a ritual. Once you've created your sacred space, honor it in whatever way best aligns with your belief system. I use it to sit in quiet meditation or reflection. Other times I offer prayers of gratitude, chant a sacred word, speak in tongues, repeat affirmations, or gaze at a candle. For the most part, I surrender to silence and let it take me where it will. Should you choose to create a personal altar, it will become a tangible point of focus for your spiritual practices. But, altar or not, remember that your Sacred Center lies within. You can access it at any time by stilling the mind and body, even if you have to excuse yourself to a quiet location.
How do you incorporate the spiritual practice of silence in your life?