The word mouna, or silence, is derived from the Sanskrit root mun which means to measure. The purpose of mouna is to measure and observe the input and output of the senses as a way to obtain inner silence.
Most of us are so inundated with noise all day long that silence seems deafening. Every opportunity that we have to be in silence we fill with a blaring television, music on iTunes or Spotify, videos on our iPad, iPhone and our computers. Music has become so aggressive and invasive and people believe that this doesn't have a detrimental effect on the mind, the body and the soul. Unfortunately, it does.
Our minds are addicted to a steady stream of stimulation and are accepting of obnoxious and loud noises for large parts of the day. There seems to be an avoidance of living through mindless doing. The constant need to have our attention focused outward prevents us from going inward. Even sitting to read a book has become impossible for many because it is too quiet.
Many of us are detached from nature, living in big cities, and we don't have easy access to the replenishing silence of nature. Those of us that do have access to nature often put on headphones and listen to loud music when we could be listening to the beauty of birds chirping, bees buzzing and brooks babbling. For all of mankind's history up until the last century, people lived most of their day in silence. There was a deeper connection with nature and I'm sure that if someone from even 200 years ago lived one day in our noisy world, they would feel nuts.
This is not our natural state of being. It's only in the last century that we allow constant noise to invade our space and now we are so used to it that it feels natural. This separates us from nature and from our own nature.
How is it possible to find peace, balance and harmony in our lives if we never allow ourselves to be in the simplicity of silence? It's as if silence has become scary- maybe because we really don't want to hear our inner voice that is whispering to us and crying out to be listened to. How can we really know ourselves and give space for that inner voice to come through?
Mouna or silence is a practice. This practice leads to change. It helps us to be grateful, calm and to be fully alive. The most healthy, healing and loving place that exists for all of us is deep within- that place of 'peace beyond all understanding' that is eternal and is our true nature. How do we live from that space?
Silent meditation is a way to reconnect with our natural state. It is the first step in learning to love silence. In the beginning it can be challenging, just like any other practice or discipline. Your old mindset will keep telling you to turn the tv or the music on or go check your telephone or device. The more that you discipline yourself to sit in silence for meditation, the easier it will be to live more and more of your time in silence. This also helps us to confront things in our mind that we may be avoiding, but only by facing our demons in the safe place of meditation, can we extinguish them!
By sitting in total silence for a short time, and then lengthening it more and more, you give your mind the chance to wind down and be fully in the eternal moment of now- just being aware of your breath, bodily sensations, fleeting thoughts, and sounds happening naturally around you. No clinging onto anything in particular, no worrying about what happened in the past or what's going to happen tomorrow. Just existing in the present moment.
This will help purify your mind of the need for constant noise-polution and help you to see that you are your own best friend and that you can like, even love, your own company. It's the best company you'll ever have!
With great love, joy and respect.