Question: How to keep an optimum silence during the Silence Course?
Answer: Silence is not only of the body, it is of the mind. So one must make every attempt to at least taste a minute of complete silence of the mind at a Silence retreat otherwise it is just a waste. Believe me, even a minute of total silence of the subconscious mind is a HUGE achievement. So how to attain this silence of the mind?
1. Resolve to be in complete ‘Non-contact’ for the duration of the silence retreat.
- Non-contact of eyes: Always look down and walk. Do not look up at anyone or anything.
- Non-contact of sound: Steer away from any sound [people talking, etc]
- Non-contact of touch: Make every attempt to not touch a person even by mistake; for e.g. while standing in a line.
2. One week before the silence course begins, make an attempt to speak only if required to people because your conversations will only prove to be food for the mind and you will probably waste the first day of your silence with a broken record in your head that replays the last few conversations again and again and again.
3. Make every attempt to keep eyes mostly closed throughout the silence course especially during breaks because every time you look at someone or something, it triggers a thought process. The aim is to attain the silence at the level of the mind, so all external inputs must be cut-off strictly to be able to taste the sweetness of the deep silent waters of the mind.
4. Forget about your friends and family on the course, just focus on the closest ONE within. You have ignored that ‘SELF’ long enough. Choose to give it 100% attention.
5. Make an attempt to dress simply and avoid spending too much time on dressing up. It will help you go deeper within as the mind will not be bothered by thoughts of how your clothes or hair is looking.
6. When in the food-line, avoid looking up at the servers if any, and practice to accept whatever food drops into your plate.
7. Whatever pains are there in the body during meditation because of sitting long hours, accept it as a Tapas. Practice implementing the point, ‘I am not the body’.
8. Be very sincere in your meditation, don’t let the mind wander away and take you with it. Keep focusing on staying in the present moment by concentrating continuously on the breath. Remember, ‘I am not the mind, I HAVE a mind and I can train it’.
9. A Silence retreat is not a vacation. You could have gone to Hawaii or Switzerland but you chose Silence, so honor your own decision and be very firm about keeping a strict silence. Do every Silence retreat as if it is your last one, you never know when you might KICK the BUCKET!
May you attain the depths of your Self! Happy Silence! Shanta Bhava!
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