There is nothing more still and silent than the landscape after a heavy snowfall. It buries the world beneath a soft mantle of white that obliterates detail and distraction. That is what silence does for me...when I'm able to achieve it that is. It covers up the distractions of life.
Winter is the time for me to really work on my silence practice...to visit that interior room we all have in our hearts and sit in its nurturing space. I welcome the silence as I welcome the snow...they both provide that much needed cloak of calm. Some people use meditation to reach that inner place of stillness. I have several ways some of which I've enumerated in a prior post, Cultivating the Quiet Mind.
A quiet mind is a necessary per-requisite for reaching that inner place of silence. It is the key that opens the door but you still must walk in and sit down. One has to feel comfortable with silence before that can happen however. Many people don't.
That's what I try to practice during the winter months when I stay pretty close to home and outside concerns are less pressing. I've trained my friends and family to contact me via email rather than phone...sometimes I just unplug it altogether. I designate at least one hour every day to sit in silence and I reward myself whenever I feel I've been able to reach that inner place. (That usually involves ice cream...)
There is a voice that doesn't use words. Listen. - Rumi
I've been silence training for 5 years now and it is taking less and less time to reach the place I seek. What I'm trying to do is make it feel as natural as breathing so that when I am out in the landscape I will be able to access this interior silence more easily. This will make my visual listening exercise much more effective and, as a result, my images will be more meaningful.
I love the idea that a quiet mind "is the key that opens the door" to the inner place of silence. Such wise words, and a great reminder to me why I seek to practice silence when sometimes it just feels like I'm sitting there warding off a flood of thoughts. I'll definitely be bringing those words to mind next time I sit down to practice meditation and centering prayer. I haven't practiced in a few weeks because of an unpredictable schedule, and these words are calling me to come back, come back!
Yes, it is so easy to become awash in the day to day dramas of our life. Setting aside time to practice silence is a worthwhile activity. I wish you blessings on your return journey to your cloistered room, Lacy.
Lovely :) One of my favorite "practices" - resting in the abode of Silence within - the "essence" of our True Selves...
Thank you! If people really understood the wonderful effect silence has in our lives there would be a lot less stress in the world!
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