The Gift Of Silence
(Too busy to read? Listen to the podcast here!)
Woah…hold up. What am I going on about?
I mean, does silence really feel like a gift to you?
For most of us, it’s uncomfortable and must be filled as soon as possible. It’s the number 1 dread when you’re on a first date – avoid that awkward silence. And it’s considered the ultimate punishment for people who are already in prison!
So, I guess it’s lucky you don’t have to deal with silence too often. I mean, you’re super busy, with no time to stop. And of course, there’s always something noisy to offer a comfortable distraction.
But, what if silence really is a gift? And perhaps you’re just too overwhelmed and disconnected to notice it. That’s what I want to explore in this week’s post, with the help of the Gnostic Goddess Sige.
Sige reminds us of the power of silence, and why we need to include it in our everyday lives if we want to feel whole.
Here’s what’s coming up in this week’s blog:
- The 2 main reasons we avoid silence like the plague
- The story of the Goddess Sige
- The 3 gifts hidden within silence
- And 6 simple ways to invite silence into your life
Why We Avoid Silence
If you feel uncomfortable in silence, you’re not alone. Many of us feel the same – and there are 2 main reasons. Guilt and Fear.
Being busy is a badge of honour – so it becomes difficult to sit and relax for a while. Do you feel comfortable just resting or taking time for yourself? Probably not. It’s likely that you feel you have to earn a pause in your day – and the price you pay is working yourself to exhaustion!
There are too many things to do. Too many people depending on you. Too much pressure to keep on going.
So you never have a chance to pause experience silence. You feel far too guilty to stop doing and just be.
Perhaps you’re more worried about what might ‘come-up’ for you if you quiet the distractions and actually spend some time in silent solitude. The thought of ‘facing yourself’ can be very scary. If you stop and listen there will be no way to avoid how you truly feel about yourself and your life.
You might even feel threatened by the judgemental, negative and self-deprecating voice that fills your head.
You might be tricked into believing what your negative inner voice says – and maybe you even think that the negative voice IS you – so silence becomes a place that leaves you vulnerable to the beatings of your ego.
There’s a great quote by Anne Lamott which illustrates this fear beautifully – “My mind is like a bad neighbourhood, I try not to go there alone.”
So, if either of these avoidance tactics resonates with you – please keep reading! It’s time to discover the gift of silence.
The Goddess Sige
Sige is the Gnostic Mother of All. She is the goddess who represents the great silence from which all things are born. The great void from which all creation appeared. There is only a little information to be found about her – she is as mysterious as the dawn of creation itself.
Sige is the stillness that allows us to reconnect to our inner wisdom – our highest self. She reminds us of the power of our intuitive knowledge and introspection, wisdom and reflection.
She teaches us that we must reconnect with silence regularly – as it is here that inspiration is born and creativity springs.
Sige reminds us of the gifts we can discover through listening to our own hearts, to other people, to nature and to the divine universe. She is within each of us. She is the enormous silence that calls to you so loudly.
I like to think that within the silence is the real YOU, which is the constant force, BEHIND all of the negative, judgemental chatter. That’s the bit you need to connect with. Perhaps it’s time to listen? I’m going to tell you why it’s so important that you do.
Let silence take you to the core of life. ~Rumi
The 3 Gifts Hidden Within Silence
Within you there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at anytime and be yourself. ~Hermann Hesse
The first gift of silence is the invitation to let go – and surrender everything that is not really you. To drop the judgements, the comparisons and the limiting beliefs that fill your mind. It may feel uncomfortable at first.
When you empty yourself of the need to do anything, you can just be. You can release your worries, doubts, fears and all of the heavy things you’ve been carrying for so long.
Once you have let go of the stories and drama and other people’s opinions, you create space. And in this stillness, you can learn who you really are. You’ll eventually realise that you are filled with natural wisdom, a radiant power that is utterly fulfilling.
You probably find it easy to hold space for your friends when they need to offload and talk. You listen to them speak without judgement. You allow them to release their heaviness and lighten their hearts. Do you realise that you can do that for yourself too? Holding space for yourself allows clarity to emerge, stagnant emotions to unfold and wounds to be honoured and healed. It’s where you’ll find the answers that you have been seeking.
Once you have released and surrendered to the silence, you can use this inner space to reflect, receive and replenish your soul.
Creating space for silence allows you to contemplate what you really want in your life – how you want it to look, feel and taste. In this space, you can reflect on your hopes and dreams. And in this stillness, you can open yourself to receive divine guidance or inspiration.
You can receive downloads from God, the collective consciousness, angels, spirit guides – whatever language you feel most comfortable with – simply by getting quiet and eliminating distraction.
Silence also offers a powerful period of incubation for the seeds of new ideas and creations to develop and grow to their full potential.
The third gift hidden within silence is connection. Because only through actively listening, with your full presence can you really hear the messages from your own heart – but also from loved ones and other people.
Giving people your full attention and really listening (instead of using pauses in conversation to formulate a response) is an incredible gift. And it’s one that you should make time to offer as much as you can.
Using silence in this way will allow you to connect on a deeper level. You will learn so much more about the person you are conversing with. They will feel heard (which is becoming rare). And you will understand them without allowing your instant-judgements to cloud your feelings.
6 Simple Ways to Invite Silence into Your Life
Carve out space in your day, every single day to meditate. It is the ultimate channel for inner silence. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Just sit or lie or perform yoga in silence for a few minutes.
You don’t need special tools – but try them if you think they’ll help. A cushion, a rug, a sacred space, mala beads, a candle.
What really matters, is that you practice being silent for a few minutes every day. And release the need to ‘get it right’ because meditating in silence is incredibly challenging. So, have compassion with yourself as you practice because facing that mean inner voice can be scary. But what you’ll learn, as you practice, is that your real inner voice is behind that one. So stick with it. Keep practising.
Make time to connect with nature as often as you can. It can be as simple as walking barefoot on the grass, swimming in the ocean, stroking your dog or even opening a window, allowing the breeze to come in and listening to bird song.
Nature has provided us with an incredible soundtrack that we can listen to – the sounds of the weather and life around you. Howling wind, crashing waves, chirping birds, rain storms.
Let yourself become naturally silent as you absorb it all.
Make an effort to really listen. To yourself and to loved ones. We have discussed the gift of connection that is found within silence, and here is where you can put it into practice.
When your children come to speak with you, put your phone down. Make eye contact. Resist the urge to jump in and interrupt them. Really listen.
Do the same with your partner, your friends, family, colleagues and watch how your relationships are transformed.
Read books and articles that light you up, excite you and develop you further. It’s absolutely okay if you choose audio books – or even documentaries.
Feed your mind and spirit with books to stretch your knowledge and ignite your imagination. And do it every day – even just a few pages. Just imagine how much you will learn!
Another way to invite silence into your life is via writing. Grab a journal, piece of paper or even your laptop. Don’t stop to worry about the blank page…and just start writing.
You can use prompts/thought provoking questions to get you started. Or you can write about your day, your past, your friend, the things you are grateful for, pissed off about…there’s no wrong way!
I love to use Julia Cameron’s method, The Morning Pages. She recommends that we write 3 pages of stream of consciousness first thing in the morning. It sounds like a lot – and it is. But the insights that I uncover this way never cease to amaze me. There’s no wrong way of doing it – just write without editing.
6. Technology Curfew
The number 1 biggest obstacle to silence in your daily life is most likely the device in your hand right at this very second. But you can take charge – because you’re even smarter than your smartphone – right?
Make use of aeroplane mode for periods of silence and focus in your day. Set reminders through the day for moments of stillness. And download mindfulness apps that you’re drawn to.
Most importantly, set yourself technology curfews. Ban phones from the dinner table. And decide on a time to turn it OFF at night. Not silent. Turn it off. It will thank you for the break – and so will your brain.
Spending time in silence is challenging. There’s no point sugar-coating it. We are constantly distracted and pulled in many directions. You may feel a real resistance to be still.
But there are important gifts to be found if we accept the challenge and decide to embrace silence into our day.
Silence is the great teacher, and to learn its lessons you must pay attention to it. There is no substitute for the creative inspiration, knowledge, and stability that come from knowing how to contact your core of inner silence. The great Sufi poet Rumi wrote, Only let the moving waters calm down, and the sun and moon will be reflected on the surface of your being. – Deepak Chopra
As we practice, the constant chatter in our mind becomes quieter. You’ll learn to be aware of your thoughts without fearing, resisting or attaching to them. You’ll realise that you have the freedom to choose the types of thoughts you want to focus on and those you wish to ignore.
Over time you will crave stillness – and wonder how you ever managed without this time, reconnecting with your inner silence, that silent voice – that feeling of knowing.
The more you listen, the stronger it will become. And the more it will fill your cup with strength, joy and love. And even though you will probably forget all about silence and these gifts from time to time (you are only human), they will always be available for you to reconnect with when you’re ready.