Setting Yourself up for a Day of Silence

You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” ~ Franz Kafka

It seems like a radical idea, maybe even an impossible one – but spending a day in mindful silence can be done and it is a great gift to yourself and those you come in contact with daily. The benefits of your day of silence – a sense of calm, and clarity, will last far beyond the day itself. As I write this I am sitting in the San Francisco airport after spending a week of travel and visiting with family. I have a long trip back to Boston and my flight has been delayed. I’m thinking about all the hectic fun I had with my husband and my two little boys as the din of the airport noises – boarding announcements, children crying, suitcases rolling – swirl around me. And I’m thinking how badly I want an uninterrupted period of solitude after a busy week.

There is a magical quality to taking a day to retreat from the voice, a sort of alchemy that comes out of the silence. Solutions to long-standing problems will come to you out of the blue.  Other problems will seem less pressing.  There is an automatic reordering of our priorities that can take place only in silence.

To echo Kafka’s famous words, “you don’t need to leave your room” to set yourself up for a day of silence. You don’t have to spend time and money going to a retreat. In fact staying at home can help you improve your relationship with your daily surroundings. It is recommended, however, that you prepare for your day of silence, so that you are not tempted to turn to the dirty laundry or distracted by dust bunnies. That’s why we’ve created a day of silence plan for you to follow.

There is a magical quality to taking a day to retreat from the voice, a sort of alchemy that comes out of the silence. Solutions to long-standing problems will come to you out of the blue.  Other problems will seem less pressing.  There is an automatic reordering of our priorities that can take place only in silence.  When we stop the mouth from chattering, we can begin to calm the mind from chattering. Be forewarned that your thoughts might become louder at first. Sometimes referred to as the “monkey mind,” reminiscent of a monkey running amuck, the mind is often chattering as fast if not faster than the mouth. A great example of this is when we are alone driving a car. Driving becomes second nature for many people, and often times we get from A to B without remembering the drive. This is because our mind is elsewhere, thinking about the laundry, kids, future, etc. When we close the mouth, we are left with these thoughts. This will automatically happen during your day of silence, so be gentle with yourself. Intersperse your unstructured quiet time with formal seated mediation sessions to help bring yourself back to the present moment. This is great opportunity to really get to know yourself.

A day of silence can also be empowering and comforting. You are taking control of your voice. And even though being alone in silence can feel uncomfortable at first, eventually you will become comfortable with your thoughts. This is a great task to accomplish. And since you’re not speaking to people, you could take this time to really think about what you say on a daily basis, and become a better listener.  As this pause before engaging your vocal cords becomes stronger after your day of silence, you will return to the world with the ability to engage in more mindful communication, and mindful communication will turn into less confrontation, and more meaningful conversation.

Mindfulness meditation is all about being in the present moment. Taking a day of silence can help you stay present for days afterward.  During your silence you can also pay better attention to your body- your heart rate, posture, and breath.  If you think you can’t make time for a day of silence, take a look at our day of silence plan Set yourself up for a day of silence when you don’t have to work. Call up your friends and family and let them know you will be unreachable for one full day. Breathe, relax, learn, and grow.

We wish you twenty minutes of mindfulness every day!

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