When is silence pleasant and uncomfortable

The value of silence and silence

Almost every one of us has a longing for silence and silence. What does silence mean and how can we find silence in everyday life? Learn about the value of silence as a mental health resource. Learn how to deal with fear of silence. And enjoy the poetic words of poets and mystics about silence and silence.

The longing for silence and silence

Do you sigh at the terms remain silent and silence very deep? Are you sometimes fed up with all the talk that pounds on you from morning to night? Do you know this deep longing for silence and silence? Then you will find yourself in these profound words of the mystic Osho about silence in meditation:

And meditation (...) simply means to sit still, do nothing, just enjoy the silence ... And slowly, very slowly you get to know the silence that fills the inner being. Then the moment you close your eyes you fall into a still, bottomless pond. And out of this silence you can renew yourself at any moment. From this silence comes your love, your beauty, a special depth in your eyes, a special aura around you, a special power of your personality and a certain self-respect. "

Without silence and stillness from time to time there is no sanity.

What is silence

A common definition of silence is: Silence is a form of non-verbal communication in which no one speaks and in which no sounds are made either. Instructions from silent retreats point out that sign language and eye contact are also expressions of communication and should therefore be avoided.

That doesn't sound very romantic - and this impression doesn't improve if you use the word remain silent googles. It is amazing how little positive the concept of silence is in general. In fact, silence can also be associated with uncomfortable feelings. More on that later.

Looking for oases of silence and silence in everyday life to get in touch with yourself again.

Constant activity sheds the inner silence

Our everyday life is anything but calm. Probably the world has never been louder than it is now. And the external noise is reflected in the internal noise of our thinking. According to science, humans process around 60,000 thoughts every day. There can be no question of silence here. More like it lost in thought to be.

Our constant hustle and bustle of body, language and mind sheds the inner silence and leaves it no more space in everyday life. In order to find and maintain them, we need to learn to calm the body, speech and mind. Because silence is becoming increasingly important to us in a world in which noise can sometimes reach excruciating proportions and penetrate into the last corner of our lives.

Wisdom through silence

By becoming still and remaining silent (for example in meditation), we can switch from thinking and talking to the wholesome state of a conscious presence. Conscious non-speaking and reduced external stimuli over a longer period of time calm the stream of thoughts. Beyond the flood of thoughts, we can recognize and learn things that would never open up to us in the course of ordinary thinking and talking.

When we are deprived of language, attention naturally turns inward. This introspection enables us to see which of our patterns of thinking, feeling and behavior are self-generated obstacles to happiness in our lives - and which are not.

As soon as we are consciously silent, we come into contact with our inner silence. And this is important because if we are not in contact with our inner silence, we are not in contact with ourselves.

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Time out in silence as a refuge

The louder our world becomes, the more people seek silence. Many therefore seek refuge from the noise of modern life in breaks in silence, silence seminars and quiet retreats. You want to get in touch with the silence behind all the thinking and talking. For a while, they want to leave their addiction for entertainment, distraction, and recognition behind and calm the talkative ape spirit.

You want to avoid small talk and social politeness. And they want to escape the constant pressure to “be someone” or “bring” something. A break in silence offers a “Sacred Space”, a refuge that allows them to be from one for a little while Ocean of action to a Island of being to become.

The old pond.
A frog jumps in -
the sound of the water.

Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)

To regain consciousness in a silence seminar.

Find silence in everyday life

When we are not in touch with ourselves, we lose ourselves in the world. But the moment we become aware of the silence, we enter the state of inner wakefulness and are present in the present moment. Thinking comes to rest - we are only aware of the silence.

Most believe outer Silence is the prerequisite for inner Silence - but that is not the case. There is always silence. It is always present behind all noise - no matter where we are or what we are doing. Find the silence in the turning point between inhalation and exhalation. Or register the silence in conversations when it is revealed between words or in the pause between two thoughts.

Penetrates the rock
the chirping of the cicada. "

Matsuo Basho

The silence behind all the noises

Often times we are so preoccupied with searching for silence and resentful of anything that disturbs the silence that we miss the silence of the present moment. But there is always silence. We are always surrounded by silence; it is the background against which we hear all tones, sounds and noises.

Important composers have always “composed” silence into their music. It is these quiet moments that show that music “plays” against a background of silence. We can use mindfulness to gain more empathy for the To develop silence that is inherent in all tones, noises, sounds and even noise.

Christian mystics about the silence

In silence we can recognize and overcome the illusion of separation between you and I. The Christian mystic Meister Eckhart even went so far as to say that the Christian Trinity is united in inner silence. Christianity also provides further evidence of the value of the silence that arises from silence. It comes from the important Cistercian monk Thomas Merton (1915-1968), who lived as a hermit for a long time:

Many seek eagerly; but only those will find who remain in constant silence ... Anyone who indulges in a multitude of words is empty inside, even if they say wonderful things. If you love the truth, love the silence. The silence will light you up like the sunlight and free you from the phantoms of ignorance. Silence will unite you with God himself ... More than anything, love silence: It brings you a fruit that the tongue cannot describe. In the beginning you have to force yourself to be silent. But then something is born that draws you into silence. May God let you experience this 'something' that is born out of silence. If you practice it, an inexpressible light will arise from it ... After a while, a certain sweetness will grow in your heart from this exercise and your body will be drawn into the silence. "

What the Buddha said about noble silence ’

In many traditions, silence and silence are seen as the path to the eternal, to the sacred, to the divine. Of course, the Buddha was also familiar with the meaning of silence: when asked about the nature of enlightenment, he disappointed the expectations of his listeners, who had hoped for comprehensive explanations about it. Instead, he held up a flower and with this gesture pointed to the only place where you can find what you are looking for: in silence.

According to tradition, only Buddha's disciple Kashyapa understood the wisdom of this gesture: that every being is already enlightened, i.e. has Buddha-nature and that silence and Buddha-nature are not different.

The Buddha: Even today, a symbol of serenity and silence.

Silence: as wide and as deep as the ocean

Buddha once compared the silence in meditation with a calm ocean on which no waves appear. In the daily tumult we only see the short-lived rearing waves and the foaming spray - and overlook the fact that beneath the waves is the ocean: huge, calm and wide. He is the embodiment of the silence in which the unspeakable is present.

Thinking fragments reality and creates an illusion of our being that leads to great suffering because it leads us to believe that we are a single individual, separate from others and life as a whole. In the silence of silence we can awaken from this trance and experience our being alone, our connection with all living things. We can break through to a dimension of consciousness that goes much deeper than just thinking. It is present in each of us.

This dimension of consciousness is our very essence. In Buddhism we speak of Buddha nature or original spirit, in Christianity one speaks of inner Christ - In secular terms, this dimension could be called Awareness, presence or unconditioned consciousness describe.

There is a forgetting of all existence
a silence of our being,
where we feel as if we have found everything. "

Friedrich Holderlin

Fear of silence

Not everyone loves silence and that may be because there is “good” and “bad” silence. Silence can be painful and feel like physical assault. Many a child experienced silence and silence as punishment, rejection and exclusion. There was no exchange and much remained unsaid and unexplained. So pain grew in silence and still today silence causes bad feelings.

From a psychological point of view, the fear of silence is not only biographically but also evolutionarily conditioned. To be excluded from the community was tantamount to a death sentence for early humans, because alone he could not survive in a hostile environment. We still live with this evolutionary legacy today. It is expressed through a deep need to belong and to be perceived and accepted by others.

Using mindfulness to develop stillness

The Buddhist-based practice of mindfulness is of great use when it comes to experiencing the silence behind all sounds. This is relatively easy for us when we consider what we have heard as enjoyable classify, as we do, for example, with the song of birds, the sound of the sea and the sound of the forest. On the other hand, let us assess what has been heard as unpleasant, it is much more difficult for us to open ourselves to the underlying silence.

Mindfulness teaches us to approach all inner experiences with the same friendly attention - regardless of whether we classify them as pleasant or unpleasant.

That sounds easier than it is. In our inner resistance to the unpleasant, we sometimes forget how easy it is: we just need to leave life alone. Just be still and be where life is: now! Here!

Silence can always be experienced when we open ourselves to what is. If we don't get entangled in inner evaluations and if we stop building up resistance to supposedly unpleasant things, we can experience that silence is much more than the opposite of noise.

True silence is more than the opposite of noise.

Turn gently to silence

If you experienced silence as a punishment in childhood, if it is uncomfortably occupied for you, but you still want to tap into the potential of silence, then take it slowly.

First, start with a day in silence. Discuss your problem in advance with the leader of the mindfulness day. A sensitive mindfulness teacher will support you in gently approaching silence and experiencing its healing potential.

© Doris Kirch, 03/2019