Do less. Talk less. Think less. Feel more.
I remember being in the 7th grade. My teacher – meester Aard – was a very kind and patience man. I was a young, wild, slightly stubborn kid with a big mouth, having a hard time listening to others.
Getting our final rapports at the end of the year was always an exciting moment. If I did a good job, the summer holiday would feel well deserved and I would get some pocket money from my grandparents! The money was spent before I knew it but the personal note from Meester Aard gave me a treasure that stayed with me until this very day: “Speech is silver, silence is gold.”
Let's talk about it
Being an unconscious kid, I had no clue what he meant. Why would silence be gold? Should I be quieter? Why? To me words and talks made much more sense. Anyway, my family agreed and they told me to take up the advice. Guess what? I wanted to talk about it!
Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all thought. – Abraham Lincoln
All we have to do is less
The years passed by and after I discovered yoga in 2015 my life has never been the same. I am still curious, still a little bit wild but no longer the girl that doesn’t get the powerful message of silence.
These days I practice my ass of with yoga and meditation, I eat self-development books, attend workshops, lectures and trainings and crave conscious conversations and experiences. However, I have the tendency to “take too much – spiritual food - on my plate” (literally and figuratively).
All the above tools and hobbies are meaningful and inspiring but sometimes all we have to do IS LESS. A beautiful lesson that Yoga and traveling taught me.
The Bali Silent Retreat
I took this epiphany seriously and decided to dive into the art of doing less. In May 2018 I arrived at a Silent Retreat on the beautiful, Indonesian Island Bali to teach yoga for two and a half weeks.
In the early mornings, after I had either taught or taken a yoga class and enjoyed the delicious breakfast, I sat down at the little veranda in front of my tiny room. The sun felt nice on my skin and I dove in either a book or a daydream. I absolutely loved the hours spent here. I felt in peace and without the constant urge of jumping up and doing something else.
Abstaining from words was hard at first. The habit of saying hello when someone walks by was strong. I also noticed that I have the tendency to fill empty space when I am with others simply because it makes me feel slightly uncomfortable. I want everybody to be happy and somehow I made myself believe that you need words for that. Hours of silence passed by and I started to feel more at ease. The fact that no one was talking obviously made it much easier.
Benefits of being in silence
During my stay I was teaching yoga so I did not go ‘full on’. However this was a great opportunity to ‘touch silence’. It was a mind-blowing experience for me and being in silence made me experience my life in a different way. Let me share the benefits I experienced after spending just 30 hours in silence:
- Relieve of mental stress and tension
Right before I arrived at the retreat I had a lot of work to finish (while I was doing a juice detox, oops.) so I felt rushed and restless. The restless feeling disappeared like snow before the sun when I settled into silence (I wasn’t using my phone either).
- Feeling more relaxed and at ease
If you resist the urge to leap into conversation or action the first moment a problem arises the problem often fixes itself. Sometimes the wisest and most relaxed action is none at all. Hello relaxed life.Being in silence made me appreciate the here and now so much more.
- My wandering mind came to rest
The silence encouraged me to train myself to sit down quietly. Just sitting. At first it was challenging but soon my mind slowed down and I felt like I could reach deeper aspects of my thoughts and feelings. When the mind becomes quiet we can hear out hearts talking to us. Dare to listen. It will be worth it!
- Increased self-control
After some some days I was able to control myself better with food. A miracle because it was the best buffet I ever had in my life!
- More mindful overall
Mindfulness simply means that your mind is with your actions. The silence and the ‘yin vibes’ at the retreat made me so much more mindful with whatever I was doing (eating, reading, writing).
- Tapping into creative energy
Being in silence turned out to be a great opportunity to get in touch with my deeper emotions and my own healing- and creative energy.I felt inspired to write and create. And so I did and I really enjoyed!
- Silence allowed me to hear more
Silence doesn’t mean quiet. When I stopped talking, nature started to speak with me! The frogs, whispering rice fields, the wind in the trees. Incredible.
Let your intuition talk
We – or actually our minds - often distract ourselves in many ways. Obtaining from spoken words for a while will calm your mind and create space for true feelings and intuition. It might take a little while (for some hours, others need days) but at some point this other voice arises: the whispers of your intuition. No longer just the strong, rigid perception of the mind.
The beautiful subtle voice of your intuition is very pure and has so much to offer. If we would only learn to create this space for our inner-voice… During the Happy Heart Retreat we will tap into the beauty of silence and I can’t wait to share this way of peaceful being with the group.
Start experimenting today!
With the fast paced and noisy lives we live in todays world it is sometimes hard to be in silence. If you are curious though and ready to experience the countless benefits, here’s some simple ways to get you started.
- Try a silent dinner at the family table TONIGHT! Enjoy the food and each others presence in silence (Don’t worry if it feels a bit awkward ;)).
- Enjoy your morning tea or coffee in silence. No tv. No phone. No chats. Just you and enjoying your drink.
- Find yourself the cosiest spot in or around the house and take a comfortable seat. Just sit and be. Enjoy the sitting and perhaps the surroundings in silence. Again, no distractions.
- Practice listening in your next conversation. Do not think about what you are going to say when (or even before) the other persons stops talking. Practice pure listening. Be present and listen. Nothing else!
- For most of us it’s a habit to turn on the radio whenever we're in the car or we listen to voice memo’s when we’re on our bikes. Next time you go on the road, switch off and enjoy the ride.
He was right
Meester Aard was right. It took me a couple of years (18!) but I realize that silence is undoubtedly golden indeed. I am excited and determent to build some quite moments in on a regular base, just so the awakened silent bird within me stays nourished and alive.
What are your experiences with silence? I am curious! Leave me a note below.