There is a lovely quote from the ancient Chinese philosopher and author of the Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu, who wrote, “Those who know, do not speak. Those who speak, do not know.” Much wisdom can be found in this simple quote. There is a time for extroversion, but it is in those times of silence and stillness that we are connected to wisdom, inner power, and strength.
Silence is a quiet strength. It does not seek to be acknowledged, recognized, or appreciated. It is the type of strength that is unwavering, and is not affected by external conditions or situations. In silence is inner power, resolve, and self-awareness. It is a time for introspection, psychological awareness, awakening to truth.
At the Satyananda Yoga Ashrams, the practice of mauna, or silence, is observed each evening until after breakfast. Inner silence is said to help one develop awareness of the witness, that which is beyond ordinary intellectual understanding. The witness watches the workings of the logical, rational, analytical mind, without being attached to the mind. With this awareness comes the realization that one is not a slave to the mind or its conditioned patterns. This is a fundamental practice in getting still, getting silent, and getting honest with oneself about the mind’s limiting or fearful thoughts.
Practice silence by setting aside time each day for introspection. Give yourself a time-out, perhaps in the morning or before sleep, to open up space to witness the mind and emotions. Turn off the cellphone, rid yourself of distractions. Simply watch the mind, become the witness, and observe, without judgement, whatever comes up in that moment. Witness how turbulent thoughts, feelings, and fears wash over the mind, and in time, dissipate and flow away, like puffy clouds in the summer sky. The thoughts are the clouds, and the crystal clear blue sky is consciousness. Use this time to become aware of how and when you are speaking. Are you perhaps wasting energy by engaging in meaningless conversations or arguments? Talk less, listen more, and see what happens. Silence is a tool to become aware of the light of consciousness and to release attachment to the conditioning of the mind.
For more information, read the Tao Te Ching and read more about silence.