The True Power of Absolute Silence
Are you one of the growing number of individuals who practise meditation on a regular basis? There’s an enormous amount of evidence to support the benefits of a daily session of calm contemplation. More and more people are learning to rely on this powerful form of mental conditioning to lower their stress levels, reduce their pain, enhance their health and improve every aspect of their lives. With a rich tradition that reaches back over thousands of years, meditation is still proving its worth today in the twenty-first century.
But there are also many different opinions on what really constitutes or qualifies as meditation. In essence, there are two schools of thought.
The goal of meditation isn’t to control your thoughts. It’s to stop them controlling you. – Anonymous
The more popular variety of meditation today involves a passive approach. This is where your thoughts – and your feelings – are guided by the words of an external narrator and this is referred to as guided meditation. You simply relax and follow the recorded instructions that you’ve downloaded, letting the words and music bring you to a state of calm, relaxed receptivity. These seem to work very well at the end of the day when you need to unwind and give your mind and body the chance to welcome a good night’s sleep.
Some guided meditations are designed to provide precisely the opposite. They’re intended to raise your energy levels and spark your enthusiasm, boost your confidence and prepare you for the day’s challenges. Ideal material at the start of day. There are even guided mediations that offer a spiritual dimension to their suggestions.
The goal of meditation is not to get rid of thoughts or emotions. The goal is to become more aware of your thoughts and emotions and learn how to move through them without getting stuck. – Dr. P. Goldin
Whatever you’re seeking, the benefits can be profound, especially if you find a skilled narrator who can generate the kind of resonance in your thoughts and feelings that deeply enhance your sense of wellbeing. It’s an inescapable facet of modern life that we’re constantly bombarded by messages, words, noise and all the manifestations of social media.
How delightful it is to free ourselves from this stream of random distractions and focus our attention on a carefully selected narrative that’s been selected specifically to bring us back to normality.
The other school of thought offers a more challenging pathway. This is the form of meditation that requires more control from the mind of the practitioner. As anyone who’s ever tried to control their thoughts will tell you, this obviously requires a great deal of practice. Perhaps even a lifetime of endeavour! But the benefits are correspondingly more profound. This is the way to greater self-control and a voyage of self-discovery that can serve to reshape many of our perceptions about ourselves and the nature of the world.
To a mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders. – Anonymous
These benefits are just as valuable to us today in the twenty-first century as they were to the ancient philosophers who first described the processes of meditation in their famous teachings. By learning to channel our thinking and our emotional energy, we free ourselves from the constant swirl of distractions that fill our thoughts and feelings.
The goal of this process is not to deliver the sensations of wellbeing that motivate many to follow the guided meditation pathway, though a profound sense of wellbeing is deeply connected to this more demanding form of meditation. The aim is to enter into a state of stillness that was described in ancient times simply as The Silence. It’s a form of consciousness that is associated with a blissful state of detachment. It represents a place where the sense of self is submerged in the vastness of eternity.
Meditation is not to escape from society, but to come back to ourselves and see what is going on. Once there is seeing, there must be doing. With mindfulness we know what to do – and what not to do – to help. – Thich Nhat Hanh
The benefits are reputed to exceed all possible expectations. A mind that is harnessed and directed confers inestimable advantages to anyone who has accomplished this feat of mental endurance and persistence.
One of the most frequent complaints about this more intensive form of meditation is that it seems to demand too much, especially when life is so frequently exhausting, challenging and distracting. Yet, these are precisely the reasons why the deeper form of contemplation is so necessary today.
The more regularly and the more deeply you meditate, the sooner you will find yourself acting always from a center of peace. – J. Donald Walters
Whatever form of meditation appeals to you, or fits most easily into your daily routine, make a firm declaration right now to explore the benefits of this ancient discipline. The experience might take you far beyond the immediate benefits of feeling calmer and more centred. The Silence that the ancient philosophers described so beautifully in their poetry and verses is always waiting for us with infinite patience. It’s a state of being that reveals its secrets in the wonderful moment of inner stillness.