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Silence of the Mind

In Sanskrit Silence means Mouna. It is an inner state. Something will automatically change in your state, in your nature and silence will establish itself.

There are two types of silence- physical silence and the silence of the mind. 

Physical silence is when we sit quietly without talking to anybody or somebody is delivering a lecture and all of a sudden we feel a pin drop silence in that hall or when the children make much noise in class and the teacher says silence please. 

Similarly, when you tell your eyes to close, they close. This is silence of the eye. If you do not allow the ears to hear any sound, it is silence of that particular sense. If you observe a complete fast without taking even a drop of water, it is silence of the tongue. If you do not perform any work and you just sit in Padmasana for three hours, it is silence of the feet and hands. These are natural reflexes that happen without thought or effort for most people.



SILENCE OF THE MIND

Unlike physical aspects, silence of the bubbling mind does not come easily. When you tell your mind to stop thinking, it takes a lot more practice and training to achieve the same response. You can observe a vow of silence, but the mind will be building images. Chitta will be developing memories. Imagination, reasoning, reflection and various other functioning of the mind will be going on continuously. Whether it is before bed or at work, there will always be times when you need your mind to switch off, so you can focus on the task at hand or simply get some rest.

HOW TO SILENCE THE MIND

Real silence is found in the supreme self, where there is peace. To reach this peace, we must meditate and learn to control the mind. Many thoughts arise in the mind. Sometimes they arise as if some unseen force within us is causing their upsurge. To control the mind, we must be aware of what we are doing at all times; of our thoughts, feelings, actions, breathing and so on. Yoga shows us the way to find our real nature to untie this knot of feelings and emotions by teaching us to become more vigilant and to observe ourselves all the time. 

Yoga prescribes a method by which one can become the master of the thoughts. You need not control your thoughts. You need not kill your mind. You must only attain complete mastery over your thoughts. One who has attained mastery over the mind and the mind is properly kept under control, can help you in many ways.

METHOD TO SILENCE THOUGHTS

Inner silence has many graduated stages. In the beginning you should relax yourself mentally. Sit in any comfortable Asana with your spinal cord straight. Close your eyes and try to relax yourself mentally. Feel that you are going to take a rest. Do not entertain any strenuous thought in your mind as you generally do. 

Experience peace, a feeling of rest, joy and comfort. The more you are able to relax, the more you will be able to practice. Be aware of yourself and of your position. This is called self-awareness. Your limbs should also relax. This may take some time. Relaxation is a process which requires an effort in the beginning, but afterwards it is effortless.

Try to visualize the space in front of the closed eyes. Many thoughts will arise. Let them come. Try to remain a witness to all that. Do not identify yourself with any sound, sensation or thought that arises in the mind. 

Now pose a particular thought. Retain the same thought in the mind for some time with vivid imagination and then dispose it off. If you practise this method for some time, you will learn a technique of removing any permanent thought that haunts your mind. This method is extremely useful. You can choose any thought you like, but be careful not to identify with the thought. Be conscious throughout of what you are doing. Do not allow any thought to come without being willed. Reject such thoughts which come to you of their own accord. Do not get attached to the thought. Practise with detachment. You will have to reject the continuity of thought by constant and persistent practice.

SIMPLE ROUTINE FOR A PRACTICE OF SILENCE

Your silence observance should actually begin the previous day. That evening go to bed in a meditative state. Wake in the morning and immediately go into the practice of Yoga-nidra. Then rise. Cleanse. A brisk walk, run or brisk exercise will be good, depending on the weather. Then do a relaxation technique. Prepare for your meditation with Nadi-shodhana. Up to this point do not eat. You may have water, hot lemon drink or juice as needed. Following your meditation, prepare and eat your breakfast in that meditative mood with the spice of Japa.

After breakfast as silence continues rest and do Japa. No reading or writing. Then before lunch do another session of Nadi-shodhana and meditation, whatever length you desire. Prepare and eat lunch in a meditative mood chewing each mouthful thoroughly.

After lunch take a conscious rest with digestive breathing then a short walk. (If you are not clear on digestive breathing write to yogashaastra@gmail.com).

 Do more Japa, rest and contemplate your personal philosophy of life, arriving at some new conclusions or confirm old ones. Then in the light of this contemplation decide how to recognize yourself to take five percent more time for your spiritual pursuits. Such an experience in contemplation may be continued during a special walk. This is done by observing the entire process of walking within yourself, i.e. from the mind’s command to the movement of the foot. Also keep breath awareness; no other extraneous pursuits of the rational mind. Then return to rest and do more Japa. Liquids may be taken in the afternoon as needed.

Then before supper do another long relaxation, Nadi-shodhana and mediation. Then prepare and eat a light supper in meditative mood. Follow this with a brief walk. Then sit for Japa and Meditation. If you get drowsy fall asleep. If you are awake take a glass of hot milk before going to bed. Go to bed in a meditative mood.

If you continue to observe silence for another day or more, follow more or less the same routine. Then pray for those who breathe from plants to animals to your competitors, then to all in all the situations.

PRAYER

Let all enjoy happiness (sab ka ho kalyan)
Let the work of all be auspicious (Sab rahe sukhi)
Let no one be unhappy (koi nahi dukhi)
Let all have auspiciousness (Sab ka ho mangal)
Let peace be established in the east, west, north and south (Purab mai, paschim mai, uttar mai, dakshin mai)
In the hills and hillocks, in the oceans and in the woods, let peace prevail (Paharo mai, samudar mai, van mai, jangal mai)
Let there be peace in the lives of each man (jan -jan kai jeevan mai)
Let there be peace (Shanti ho Shanti ho Shanti ho)
Om peace, peace, peace!!! (Om shanti shanti shanti)!!!

SOME MORE POINTS

• When you take a vow of silence, never assert from within too often, “I won’t talk.” This will produce a little heat in the brain because the mind wants to retaliate.

• Simply make a resolve once and then remain quiet. Attend to other affairs.

• Do not be thinking always, “I won’t talk. I won’t talk.”

• In the beginning, when you observe silence, you will find some difficulty. There will be a severe attack of Vrittis (waves of thoughts). Various kinds of thoughts will arise and force you to break the silence. These are all vain imaginations and deceptions of the mind.

• Keep the mind fully occupied. The desire for talk and company will die. You will find peace.

• The practice of silence should be gradual. If you find it difficult to observe it for a long time and if you do not utilise the time in Japa and Meditation, break it at once.

• When the energy of speech is not controlled and utilised properly in spiritual pursuits, when it is not perfectly sublimated, it runs riot and manifests or bursts out in the form of ‘hu-hu-hu’ sounds, exhibiting various gestures and producing various sounds. There is more loss of energy than by ordinary talking.

• Feel that you will derive much benefit from observing Mouna and experience much peace, inner strength and joy. Only then will you take pleasure in observing silence and will you not attempt to speak even a word.

• Forced silence simply to imitate or from compulsion, will make you restless and gloomy. Forced silence is only wrestling with the mind.

• It is an effort. If you live in truth, silence will come of itself. Only then will there be absolute peace. It must be natural.
• Try to become a person of measured words. Strictly avoid long talk, big talk, tall talk, all unnecessary talk, all sorts of vain debates and discussions, and withdraw from society as much as possible. This itself is Mouna.

Watch every word. This is the greatest discipline. Words are great forces. Use them carefully.

• Control your speech. Do not allow the tongue to run riot. Control the words before they pass over to your lips.

• Speak little. Learn to be silent.

• High-sounding words cause exhaustion of the tongue.

• It is mere weariness of speech. Use simple words and conserve energy.

• Devote more and more of your time for an inward life of meditation and reflection.

• Purify the mind and meditate.

• Be still and calm the mind.

• Silence the bubbling thoughts and surging emotions.

• Plunge deep into the innermost recess of your heart and enjoy the magnificent silence. Mysterious is this silence. Enter into silence. Know that silence. Become silence itself.

• Be courageous. Do not allow anything to come out from the mind through the organ of speech. If you observe silence, you have shut out a big source of disturbance. If speech is checked, the eyes and ears also can come under control easily. If you control speech, you have already controlled half of the mind.

CONCLUSION

Silence is a valuable constituent of the game of life; silence is the key that has the potential to open doors; it can free you of confusion. Silence empowers you to think things through and come up with solutions because it is only in silence you can listen well. You can listen to the deepest wisdom of your soul. Take some time off every day to be silent, even if for five or ten minutes. Feel it, experience it and observe it. That is the moment when you are with you, when you are available to yourself. When you are in silence, you are living in the present, which we don’t do very often.

Courtesy: Dr. Rita Khanna

Aum Shanti