You Have the Right to Remain Silent…
…anything you think can and will be used against you (and anyone near you), by you.
I am writing this blog because for so long I thought silence was the absence of sound. For most of my life I have been very critical, complaining and commented a lot (both internally and externally) about sounds in my environment: machine noise, traffic, other people’s voices, etc. When I started my Yoga practice I heard, ”Yoga is the stilling of the mind into silence.” So what to do about all this disturbing noise???!!! And why the f-word am I not experiencing any Silence!? The entry into the Yogic mind seems to depend on the understanding that the experience of silence is less the mere absence of sound, and much more the absence of my inner (and outer) commentary, criticism, and complaint about sound. Dig this: sound as we know it on Earth is a pressure wave that has tangible effect (you can hear it) when moving through the atmosphere of the Earth. Take the same pressure wave and project it out into space and it has no tangible effect (you cannot hear it).
Most of my students are women. Most of them have a mate and most of those mates do not come to class. These Yoga practicing women ask me very often about relationship issues such as: fights, arguments, in-laws, parenting, happiness, obligation, commitment, and more. In every situation it seems that someone is not heard and there is some negative emotional reaction on one or both parties.
What to do?
We could get interested in being watchful of our inner dialogue while in conversation. We can notice that most of the sounds we make are usually just a way to make sure that we are recognized by those around us; a sort of futile attempt to be known or to know that we exist. We can start to be less fascinated with what we have to add to a conversation and more interested in that there is communication going on at all. We can start to notice when we are triggered emotionally in a conversation and be vigilant to see that all thoughts which follow that emotion, bolstering it up, and keeping it alive, are not worth our trust and are better off disbelieved!
We can watch for when our tone of voice is not congruent with the words that are attempting to transmit the communication we wish. For instance, when a human mind/body is chronically angry and disbelieving, the vocal tone can come out harsh and sarcastic even when attempting to be kind and agreeable.
The voice can only replicate a sound the ear can hear.
- What sounds are you listening to and putting in your mind and body?
- Are you spending time in company that encourages your negative emotional field?
- Are you spending time in company that reinforces the tones of criticism, complaint, and excess commentary?
- Are you paying attention to your tone in communication such that it accurately conveys the communication you intend?
Do you suppose that by opening up the faculty of hearing and learning how to listen deeply that you can engage the World in a way that not only builds relationship but brings a sense of energetic delight to what is currently viewed as mundane, ordinary, boring, demanding, and stressful? Yoga says yes!
When my girlfriend comes to me at the end of a challenging day, and she wants to tell me about it, in order for me to hear her and not try to fix every “problem” I hear, I need the skill of allowing my inner dialogue, commentary, criticism, and judgment of the story to either cease or not arise at all. This is not easy, and yet is the very gateway into the Yogic mindset. Who would guess that every man in a relationship at the end of every day around the World has an amazing opportunity to do Yoga just by listening and delightfully not interfering with what is being said by their lovely mate.
How to do this? It is very straightforward. When I hear a “problem” I notice that there is an emotional reaction of distress. This emotion is immediately followed by a bunch of words in my mind about what to do about the “problem.” I don’t believe those words!
Lastly, I would like to say that this is not about not talking or communicating. Rather the opposite, this is about effective communication. This is a practice and the best place to work with opening up your faculty of hearing and listening deeply is in a daily sitting practice. You will eventually see that even silence has a sound and that it is in the moments of letting go the inner dialogue and not feeding it with your attention that the skill in real time application comes.
By: Brent Kuecker – Yogi. Musician. Educator.