“Silence is a source of great strength.”Lao Tzu
We live in a noisy world. We are surrounded by a cacophony of sounds and voices, a chorus of constant conversation. Even when we are alone, we rarely allow ourselves to enjoy silence. We feel compelled to fill any gaps between our own voice with music, radio, television, Youtube…
Silence, it seems, is something that we have learnt to avoid at all costs – and this constant noise prevents us from thinking clearly and focusing on that which we are trying to achieve. It can also leave us mentally fatigued and prevent us from reaching our true potential.
What are the benefits of silence?
Silence is something that costs nothing at all – but the benefits are huge and potentially life-changing. Here are just some of the benefits of silence:
- Helps you to focus and avoid distraction
- Supports meditation
- Allows you to recharge from the stress and strain of daily life
- Supports relaxation
- Allows you to focus on your inner feelings
- Increases tolerance of stress
- Increases mental stability
- Improves your health
Should I go on a silent retreat?
The benefits of silence have been recognised for thousands of years, with spiritual retreats long being an important part of Buddhism and other religions. It is only in relatively recent years, however, that the silent retreat has seen the tremendous rise in popularity that it is now enjoying – but is it all hype or should you take advantage of the opportunity?
Structured silence allows you to harness the energy that you would normally use for external communication and channel it inwards, helping you to increase your inner power and reach new levels of thought. It also allows for spiritual exploration and soul searching, helping you to gain a deeper sense of purpose and clarity which can last long after you have completed your retreat.
A silent retreat can help you to get back in touch with yourself, learn to listen to your intuition and become comfortable with your own company, reducing your dependence on others for validation of your thoughts, ideas and decisions. As a result, you will become more confident in your own judgement and will also develop a sense of compassion for yourself.
The last word
Bad puns aside, whether or not you decide to participate in a silent retreat, introducing silence into your life can open up the path to a profound journey of discovery that changes you forever. You do not need to go on a retreat to practise silence – but it can be a good approach for those who struggle with the self-discipline required to adopt such practices without support and guidance.