We live in a world that is inundated with noise and entertainment. Subsequently, many of us have become totally uncomfortable with silence. When people ask me why I moved from New Jersey to West Virginia, I state two reasons: my family is here and it’s quiet. Being silent for long periods of time and questioning our soul is an essential part of improving our spiritual connection.
Let me quote a tradition to further this point. “Have good character and observe long periods of silence. Verily, He in Whose Hand is my soul (God), nothing beautifies the creation better than these two things.” In many cases, but not all, it is also a means of protection. However, the spiritual benefits of silence are even greater. During periods of silence, it gives us a chance to communicate with God in private, renew our intentions to do good, and reflect on our purpose in life, just to name a few. The essence of practicing these long periods of silence is to let the heart and soul be still for a while to refocus on what’s important in life.
Keep in mind, silence will make most people uncomfortable, if you’re that way around them. The intent is not to make people feel uneasy, it is just a byproduct of not talking much. People are so used to noise, whether it’s music, movies, or plain chatter, they just can’t handle the proverbial crickets. Another benefit of silence is, it gives a person time to honestly evaluate him or herself. As the tradition states, “Have good character and observe long periods of silence. By Him in Whose Hand is my soul, nothing beautifies the creation better than these two.” The tradition gives us a clear indication that silence is an excellent way to improve character and behavior. Let’s reflect on this for a moment. Issues of personal growth or overall betterment are more easily gauged during times of silence and reflection, and in doing, you get to know yourself even better.
The final benefit I’ll mention here is this: silence can be a protection from harm and nonsense. It is an amazing way to keep problems at bay. For instance, someone comes and starts talking about someone else, and you don’t say anything. You put the fire out before it gets started. On the flip side, if you participate, it can become a problem of the “he said she said” kind that can escalate into all sorts of issues.
Believe me, silence is an enormously powerful spiritual tool that will also benefit us in other areas of our lives. For a point of clarity, I am not talking about speaking when it is necessary to speak. At times, silence can be a bad thing, especially when a response is truly warranted. Self-awareness gives us the ability to know when to speak and when to stay silent, and luckily, increased self-awareness is another positive byproduct of observing silence regularly. I’ve said enough here, so I think I’ll go back to my regularly scheduled silence…
(PS: If you already have a silence practice, I’d love to hear about your experiences, realizations, takeaways… Share them with me here, on the website, or drop me a message on Instagram @louis_morris_coaching.)