What is silence and what does silence mean to you?
For some people, the idea of silence is unbearable. Their mind needs music or noise to distract them from their thoughts. They would rather have a root canal than sit in silence. For other people, silence is a moment to pause and recenter. They yearn for more of these moments.
Silence elicits different emotions for everyone. I remember when I was five, and my grandmother would babysit me. There was no noise at her home – no television or radio, only the ticking of a small mantel clock. I associated silence with being old. But, boy, have things changed.
Today, I view sitting in silence as an opportunity to listen to the voices all around me. I hear the songs of the birds, the trees, the animals, the wind. I hear my soul calling to me, inviting me back to my true self. When I enter this razor-thin moment of presence, something wonderful happens. I experience peace and calm, and anxiety, depression, and anger dissipate. I remember the wonder of being alive.
Living in the Present Takes Practice
Living in the present moment takes practice for most people. This is because there are so many distractions in our world. So begin practicing every day to embrace the present moment. Below is a method to help you get started.
- Shift your attention – to the sights, sounds, and sensations of the present moment. To do this, we recommend that you ground your feet and bring your attention to your breath. Use what is known as the “4X4 Breath” —four counts in, four counts out, for four breaths. This move will help you begin building the habit of shifting your attention from mind-wandering and stress to the present moment.
- Do it every day – Your ability to Focus on the present moment is like working a muscle. You must use it to build strength.
- Remember to do it – The most challenging thing about building this habit is remembering to do it. To help you remember, choose a place to practice, such as the shower. Then put a sticker with the words “Be Present” on your shower door, mirror, or any place you will see it. Once the habit is ingrained after a month or so, you may find that you no longer need it.
- How you know it’s working – After a while, you will notice that you no longer need to remember to make an effort to experience presence. It just starts to happen as you enter the shower. This is the magic moment when habits form. It means that your brain has wired a new set of connections around this everyday activity. You are now ready to bring presence to other activities in your life.