I am wildly enthusiastic about silence and often encourage my clients to take some time to consciously ‘enter into the silence’ as a way of recharging the mind and body, as well as the spirit. Based on my own experiences of being in silence, from 5-minute meditations, to ‘holy baths’, a half-day or a weekend stillness retreat, all the way up to up to nine day silent retreats, I know of no other activity that can induce such a profound sense of inner peace and connection to Grace. And there are many places and ways to experience silence, from being at home to a designated silent retreat centre.
‘But how to I do silence?’
This is a common question from someone who is new to this concept and would like to experience some silence in their own homes. So here are some guidelines to help you get the most out of ‘being’ with silence in your own environment.
Why is silence so powerful?
Traditionally it has been the religious orders that have recognised the power of silence, believing it to be the simplest path to God. However, in earlier times, silence was considered to be a goddess, embodying the presence of the Divine Mother. Silence was considered to be ‘golden’, with its own vibration, higher and purer than anything else that life has to offer an earthly being.
Entering the silence creates space for your Soul’s wisdom to shine through. Here you can also come face to face with yourself, which is not always a comfortable process. But in the willingness to just be with your own thoughts, without the addition of other people’s opinions, an inner strength and peace can develop that gives freedom beyond words.
Silence allows the brain waves to slow down. The brain transmits energy in the form of brain waves, and different brain waves are associated with different states of consciousness. Brainwaves are classified into Gamma, Beta, Alpha, Theta and Delta waves, all vibrating at different frequencies. In our modern, fast-moving technological society, the brain spends most of its time in the higher frequency states of Gamma and Beta waves. These higher frequencies are stressful for the mind and the body, and over time deplete our energies and increase our propensity to get ill and depressed.
On the other hand, lower frequency Alpha waves are produced during relaxation and meditation, and the even slower Theta waves are produced during deep meditation and sleep. I notice the changes in my brain waves over my longer periods of silence, and how even just a simple conversation or interaction with technology can bring me out of the deeper brain wave experience.
Connect to your own inner wisdom
Your Soul is always attempting to guide your life along the highest path of your divine purpose, through intuition and synchronistic occurrences. These promptings are usually very subtle and quiet, and often we are too busy to hear or respond to their inner guidance. But if we stay too busy, the body may have to go to desperate lengths to get us to stop long enough, by creating an illness or an accident, and force us to be still and listen.
By taking time to be silent, we are allowing the necessary spiritual regeneration that is being offered to all human beings at this time. Often we experience cycles of low energy that are essential to this process and need to be honoured. By surrendering to tiredness or exhaustion and taking time to be still, you will be allowing the infinite intelligence of Source to work through you. This process will raise your consciousness and your ability to be guided by this higher power. Although you may feel that nothing much is happening during this time, it really is. Old memories and stagnant energies leave the body, which helps to raise your vibration. The mind begins to release old thought patterns and becomes quiet and still, allowing your inner knowing to rise to the surface. Ideas, realisations and inspired plans come flooding into conscious awareness, as if the clouds have parted and you can see with new eyes.
How to ‘enter the silence’
How you choose to experience silence will depend on how much time you have and how committed you are to the process. It takes time to unwind and experience a change of pace in your life, so I would encourage you to take a minimum of 5 hours to begin with. The longer you have, the deeper and more profound will be your experience.
Here are some suggestions to help you get the most of this special experience
Choose you time and let everyone around you know that you will be out of contact for the duration. If you feel you can only relax if someone knows they can contact you (perhaps you have children or other important responsibilities), then you can give your phone to someone else to take your calls or divert your phone to another number. Then you know that in the advent of an emergency someone will be able to contact you (this concern is often given as a reason why someone can’t go into silence).
Get all your food shopping in and have everything you need to avoid having to go out and interact with the outside world. You may wish to walk or go into nature, but avoid communication with others as much as possible.
Create a sacred space. I find this really helps to set the intention and set up a different ambience in your chosen retreat place. Clean and tidy up, place a candle or some flowers, and maybe start with some inspirational music to begin to help you relax. Have a journal or notebook and pen to hand, and maybe some drawing materials as well. Switch off all phones (and internet / wi-fi if possible) and commit to keeping them turned off for the time you have agreed with yourself to be in silence.
Start your period in silence with a meditation, or a period of sitting or lying still and resting with conscious awareness, or perhaps take a ‘holy bath*’. Invite the presence of Grace to fill your room and ask for assistance from the highest source to fill you up with the presence of stillness. Ask for the highest and best to take place for you; for release, illumination, connection and anything else that Grace wants for you.
You may fall asleep or suddenly feel very tired. It is very usual to feel tiredness as your body begins to respond to the change of pace and the opportunity to deeply rest. Allow yourself to sleep or doze if this is what arises for you. Sometimes you can feel bored or restless to begin with, and this is very common as the change of tempo can confuse a usually busy mind. Sometimes, the mind gets very LOUD and silence feels impossible. If this happens, let all your thoughts come flooding. They have been waiting for a space to be allowed in, so let them all come and give them space to move through your awareness. Alternatively, you may feel anxious or fearful as repressed emotions or memories begin to arise in the space that you have created. It is possible that this may not be your experience at all, and instead you find yourself easily slipping into the pleasure of being in stillness and following your own rhythm. I find that my time spent in silence varies hugely, but as the years go by, my times in silence have tended to become more and more peaceful.
If you have spent a lot of energy repressing emotions or kept yourself busy and distracted from feeling old emotional pain, then they are more likely to find you in the silence. If they do, you may find yourself going AARRGGHHHHH, HELP!… but this is all very, very good. The emotions are leave-taking, and the more you allow them to be felt and to pass on through, the deeper you will be able to go into the silence. You may need to lie down on your bed or the floor and open your arms wide and say to yourself ‘Ok, come on then memories and feelings, you are welcome’ and then notice how they move through and go on their way. Do everything you can to avoid the temptation of calling a friend or checking your texts or email. If you do, you will need to start the process of slowing down the mind all over again. If you allow the process to continue without interruption you will be well rewarded for your commitment and courage to stay centred within.
If you feel very restless, then I recommend you go for a walk in nature, or do some stretching, a physical activity that helps release old energy from your body while still keeping the mind clear of distractions. By staying open and allowing this energy to arise and pass though you, depending on your level of resistance, you will soon move through to the next stage, which is often tiredness. This may also be a good time to journal your feelings and experiences, or draw or paint, or have another bath! You may have to meet the energies of boredom, loneliness, anger and frustration, but eventually you will emerge with a deeper understanding and insight into your life as well as a deeper and more profound connection to Source.
This may be followed by the desire for more resting, but this time the resting has a different quality. I use the term ‘conscious resting’. This is a very different experience from simply sitting or lying still; instead you consciously ask to receive deep rest from the Universal energy field. And with your conscious intention, visualise your cells opening up and begin absorbing the deep rest like a sponge. Feel your boundaries dissolving and energy flooding in, you may find yourself floating in and out of awareness, an experience I call surfing the dimensions!
Once you have rested, you will begin to notice a further slowing down of your mind and a feeling of relaxation in the body beginning to creep in. Now you can begin to deliberately slow down your actions and bring more conscious awareness to what you are doing. Making a cup of tea, washing your hands, going to the window and observing the clouds or the trees, even simply walking becomes more conscious. You slow down and become more gentle with yourself.
Allow the silence and the stillness to find you. It takes time; it will come, slowly and quietly seeping into your every moment. Try to become more and more aware of sounds, of patterns of light, of the sensation of touch. Take time over preparing your food, as well as eating or drinking everything more slowly and consciously. Ask Grace to open your senses, and listen to the sounds of creation all around you. Eventually, everything becomes imbued with the aliveness of consciousness itself, an exquisitely beautiful presence suffusing your every cell.
Eventually, usually over a longer period of time (here or more days, the longer the better) the stillness becomes so palpable that the peace that it brings really is the ‘peace beyond understanding’ and you will know for sure that silence really is golden.
I wish you a deeply peaceful and magical experience…
“It is essential to honour and minister to the realities of the spirit, to turn inwards and nourish oneself in the silence, from the source, the light and the beauty dwelling at the heart of our being which is the still flame of the spirit burning within. Unless we do this regularly, how can we bring forth the necessary substance to give to the ‘poor’ (in spirit), we can only give what we receive.”
From ‘The Secret Teachings of Mary Magdalene’ by Clare Nahmad and Margaret Bailey
A bath is a lovely way to begin your time in silence. And this experience can be made a ‘holy’ one by adding essential oils or my ‘holy bath’ mix. This is made by placing a handful of magnesium flakes and Himalayan sea salt in a jar, adding a few drops of your favourite essential oils (I use lavender, geranium and frankincense) and letting them soak into the salt for a while before using. It smells divine. Add the mixture to the running water, light a candle and then lay back and relax. If you can, add some prayers for your time in silence and ask to be cleansed and prepared for the time ahead, this will feel very special. I like to have my holy baths at completely different times from my usual bath routine, the more radical the better; in the middle of the day, or perhaps in the early hours of the morning (this can be magical if you can do this without disturbing anyone!)