I love being in a calm, quiet environment, whether I'm practicing yoga or just relaxing. I tend to be very noise sensitive so taking time away from sounds helps me feel calm, both physically and mentally.
Recently I read On the Verge: Wake Up, Show Up,and Shine, a great book for inspiration about how to settle the mind, shift out of 'overthinking' mode, and live purposefully. Here's a lovely little excerpt from author Cara Bradley on how to make use of time in silence.
Finding Time in Silence
An Excerpt from On the Verge: Wake Up, Show Up,and Shine
I’ve grown to appreciate that silence truly is golden. It settles and steadies me in a matter of minutes. I didn’t always feel this way. I used to surround myself with noise. I’d fall asleep with the television blaring, have music playing in my car and home, and talk, talk, talk until my throat was sore. Now I seek silence every day.
There are two types of noise and two types of silence — outer and inner. It’s important to understand the difference.
Outer noise is the stuff you hear in your environment: talking, music, machines humming. Are you aware that there’s noise almost everywhere you go these days? Music plays in stores, restaurants, and hotel lobbies. Beeps, gongs, and whistles sound all around us. News is broadcast 24/7. Our species is overstimulated with outer noise. We are conditioned to require constant music and entertainment. It’s become the norm.
Inner noise is the phenomenon of being in a quiet room yet feeling as though a whole crowd of people are talking to you all at once. It’s the voices in your head continually reminding you to do this or to figure out that. Inner noise is your busy mind in action, continuously bouncing around from one thought to the next and filling your mind with constant chatter.
You can stop the incessant outer noise by finding pockets of outer silence. Turn off the noisemakers such as your laptop or television. Your mind and nervous system will naturally settle down. Your car is a great place to find outer silence — this means turning off the news, music, and your phone. Drive in silence, and you turn your car into a four-wheeled Zen center. Take a few minutes of peace and quiet. Take control of outer-noise pollution in your car, office, and home, and you’ll notice a shift in your energy right away.
Inner silence cannot be found by shutting down your computer or by being alone in your bedroom. Inner silence emerges from the space beyond your busy mind. You can’t force it to emerge or make it stay. Inner silence arises from your natural state — when your mind is calm. It’s a sense of being quiet from the inside out, when your mind is steady and your body is relaxed. You can learn to access inner silence through practice.
Inner silence leaves an indelible mark. It feels like coming home. It feels so good to be steady and stable. It feels so good to be energized and in harmony. It feels like home to be in sync. Once you get to know inner silence, you’ll want nothing else but to live in that space all the time.
Cara Bradley is the author of On the Verge. She has taught yoga, meditation, and fitness internationally for more than thirty years and is the founder of Verge Yoga. Visit her online at www.carabradley.net. Excerpted from the book On the Verge: Wake Up, Show Up, and Shine. Copyright © 2016 by Cara Bradley. Printed with permission from New World Library.
If you're looking for ways to make positive change in your life, I'd highly recommend checking out On the Verge! The book is approachable, encouraging and filled with lots of creative ways to get out of your own head and start living your life in a way that is fulfilling and engaged.
Photos of me in this post by Jobi Otso.