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The Power of Silence: Free Yourself from Painful Thoughts

Girl

“Within you there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at anytime and be yourself.” ~Hermann Hesse

As a child, I hated when someone told me to sit still and be quiet, and rightly so. I was young and full of energy; every minute of being still and silent was a minute of missing out on this magnificent life.

Then, as I grew older and entered into teenage and young adult years, it grew into a fear with a capital “F” of being still and silent; for as soon as I was quiet and still, the noise in my head got increasingly louder and more powerful.

If the chatters of my head were beautiful, joyful, and empowering, that would have been uplifting. But they were voices of judgment, negativity, and self-loathing, nothing else.

To me, those chatters, voices, and thoughts were me. My head would chatter day and night, even in my sleep. Noise, heaviness, thinking, and more thinking, sometimes my head felt like it was about to explode.

I wasn’t even aware I was thinking. I was just on autopilot. I would act and react and get triggered into waves of emotions and feelings, which churned into more turbulence, heaviness, and weariness.

Everything became dysfunctional because I couldn’t interact effectively with people or life. My whole reality, both inside and outside, was warped.

I was a paranoid, fearful, self-loathing, neurotic human being, so my life and world were full of fear, anger, and depression. Life was an endless battle, as everyone and everything was always against me.

I got to the point of total exhaustion. I eventually lost all coherence and overdosed on pharmaceutical codeine painkillers, just so I could have peace, silence, and rest. I was totally depleted, and I felt I had lost my battle with life.

Lying in the hospital, slipping in and out of consciousness, I deprived someone else who was probably critically injured and in need of the bed. But I had a moment of peace and silence because I left my body and head.

As I stood and looked at my weary body and still very heavy head, I was in the silence. At that moment, the question arose, “If I can see and look at the ‘me’ lying on the bed, then I must not be ‘me,’ so who am I?”

Of course, I never spoke about this or they would have said I was having hallucinations and sent me straight to the loony bin.

Amazingly, I survived and took off far away where I couldn’t be found, nor forced to take medication. It was inevitable; I had started on the quest. I had to find that silence again, for it was real.

What was that silence and stillness that I glimpsed? I knew from that day on there was something more. Over the course of the following years, I rediscovered and nourished that silence, and it grew to be my anchor, healer, and guide. Here’s what I learned.

Nature’s core is silence.

Make time for yourself every day to connect in some way with nature. Walk barefoot on the grass, swim in the ocean, watch the sunset, stroke an animal, or even weed the garden. Submerging yourself in nature, and you will experience silent, unconditional, utter bliss and peace from your core.

Every time I’m in nature, I find that time literally stops and thoughts quiet. All that’s left is the beautiful sounds of birds chirping, water trickling, winds howling, and all the gaps of nature’s silence in between.

Feed and grow that silence.

Reading spiritual books or articles, listening to enlightened masters, practicing yoga or qigong, listening to music that you resonate with, dancing and moving your body will feed and nourish your silent core within.

Meditation is the ultimate channel and food for inner silence. However, unlike nature, which is effortless silence, meditation may be slightly more challenging. Sitting or lying there unmoving and in quietude, the brain may seem anything but silent or still.

I used to find that whenever there was drama in my life, my brain would get louder. The thoughts were more controlling and dominating, the emotions more intense, and my energy zapped. It was almost like my thinking brain was sucking up all the energy from my entire body.

But I continued to feed and grow that silence by persisting and holding in quiet meditation, or nourishing it through active meditative activities that anchored it.

Trust the silence.

Even if the silence was minuscule, I always chose to stay in it. The less attention I paid to the thinking mind, the softer and dimmer the thoughts became, and the more the silence and stillness grew.

Instead of resisting or fearing your thoughts, simply be aware. Allow them to be, but don’t attach to them. You have a body that feels and a brain that thinks. They are a part of you, but they are not you.

In silence, you become aware that you have the freedom and power to choose the types of thoughts you wish to entertain and empower, and the thoughts you wish to ignore and diffuse.

Silence and stillness came hand in hand. Together, they were my best friends. I loved my early mornings and nights just before bed, for when I shut my lids in meditation I disappeared into the void of peace, stillness, and silence, my essence.

Silence and stillness are teachers.

In silence, my head was lighter and clarity emerged on its own accord. Unfathomable strength revealed itself, which helped me let go of my painful past, forgive those who had hurt me, release pent-up emotions, and unfold into compassion and my true nature of unconditional love. Through the healing, my silence is now infused with deep wisdom.

Sometimes, like myself, you may find yourself careless and allow this connection with your silence to lapse. Perhaps your excuse might be, “No time, too hard, later, tomorrow, next week, after I finish this project, after I solve that issue. Life’s too good right now, I’m fine so I don’t need it.” Then bang!

A big wave inevitably comes along, catches you off guard, and dumps you straight into the mouth of the controlling mind again. The silence may shrink and disappear. That’s only human.

Hold yourself in the space of compassion and return to the voice in the heart. That will lead you back into silence and stillness. The voice in my heart is the silent voice, no words, simply a knowing.

The more I listen and follow, the stronger it becomes. It has about it an air of strength, love, wisdom, and joy. It works magic, it leads me to meet people I am meant to meet, go to places I am meant to go, and do things I am meant to do.

With devotion and commitment, the work of maintaining and sustaining your silence will naturally become a joyful routine and not a chore.

There will also come a day when there is only silence and stillness, and that is all. All else arises out of that silence. And flow emerges. The result: Reverence, unconditional peace and love, and infinite possibilities.

What does this mean? You transcend your limited physical reality, know the true bigger picture, and now integrate your wisdom and truth into manifesting your soul purpose in life.

Photo by Heidi

About Patsie Smith

Patsie Smith is a spiritual author, self-healing and self-realization facilitator, meditation and yoga teacher. She can be connected at www.spiritpond.com.

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  • Mahesh Sahu

    Nice article, Smith, Thanks.
    As you have nicely explained the importance of silence and observation of yourself from above, who is you? not your body. that is the soul. soul want to converge with god. so finally that path will lead to salvation by continuous effort.

  • Thanks for sharing your experience with and to silence in your life, Patsie. Silence often has to be cultivated in our lives. We often try to fill our lives with noise, activity and some kind of distraction throughout each day – from the moment we wake up til the moment we fall asleep. If we took more time to go within and access the silence, we would reap many of the benefits you talk about here in this post: more reverence, unconditional peace and love!

  • lv2terp

    Beautiful post and message!!! Thank you for sharing your journey, and your insight! What a great reminder, truly inspiring! 🙂

  • Patsie Smith

    It’s an honour and a pleasure, Vishnu. Indeed, silence has such a sweet quiet power, so lacking in our lives and world today, unless we actually make the effort to connect and tune in. Blessings to you 🙂

  • Patsie Smith

    Thank you for your comment Mahesh Sahu. One of our true purposes in this life journey is to come to the realization and evolution of our true self, that beyond just mind and body. Blessings!

  • Patsie Smith

    An honour and blessing to be able to be here today, to share it. Thank you for your beautiful words. Light to you 🙂

  • dereje

    Thank you for sharing your experiencd we us. I did learn a lot.

  • Petra

    Thank you so much for this article. Made everything fall into place. I was searching for this already for a very long time. Such an inspiration, i hope you know how much good you bring into the world with messages like this 🙂 X from the Netherlands

  • Rituraj Burman

    I liked the simple words you said “You have a body that feels and a brain that thinks. They are a part of you, but they are not you.” They are most powerful. Its truth, really appreciate them. Kindly keep guiding us.

  • Patsie Smith

    I’m happy some words touched your heart Rituraj. Thank you for your feedback. Blessings to you 🙂

  • Patsie Smith

    Thank you so much Petra for your feedback, they inspire me to keep trusting where my path takes me. Can’t help but speak the truth, when grace has helped me to get to where I am today. I’m so happy it connected with you. Light to you 🙂 xo.

  • Corina Ramos

    My husband never understood what I meant when I would say “I hate quiet, I can hear my thoughts loud and clear”. That’s when I was dealing with depression. Now I fill my quiet with good, positive music and put a stop to the negative thoughts as soon as they try to creep back in.

    Beautiful post!

  • Patsie Smith

    Thank you Corina for sharing your experience. Ha! yes I do understand, monkey mind can drive us so crazy! glad you found your way of tuning out the head, hoping you too may come to love silence one day, Light to you 🙂

  • Patsie Smith

    You’re most welcomed dereje. Blessings to you …

  • I just started meditating this month – every day, twice a day – and I can say with certainty that I would rather fold laundry or read Ulysses than be alone with my thoughts, even after 3 weeks of diligent practice. But like you said, I am trusting the silence because it is making such a difference in my life. The introspection, the awareness, the presence – it’s making such a big difference in my life. So, on with the practice. On with the silence. Thanks for your post!

  • flarp

    Amazing. Thank you.

  • Patsie Smith

    Thanks for sharing your experience Rosanna, well done on your diligence! wow, twice a day, how awesome:) You’ll find one day you won’t need to ‘meditate’ as such anymore,for the whole of life will be a meditation, when you regain your place as the master of your mind. Keep it up! Luv and blessings to you xo

  • Patsie Smith

    You’re welcomed 🙂 thank you for your feedback

  • Thank you for this excellent article.

    Particularly, the following lines made me wonder if you already know about the famous Ramana Maharshi of India.

    “… Instead of resisting or fearing
    your thoughts, simply be aware. Allow them to be, but don’t attach to them. You
    have a body that feels and a brain that thinks. They are a part of you, but
    they are not you. …”

    Anyway, I give you a link for Mariya Wirth’s article on Ramana Maharshi.

    Ramana Maharshi and the Most Important Question in Life

    http://mariawirthblog.wordpress.com/2014/07/29/ramana-maharshi-and-the-most-important-question-in-life/?blogsub=confirmed#subscribe-blog

    If you have not already known him, then you have luckily stumbled upon a great spiritual key that was gifted by the great Ramana Maharshi to the humankind.

    The path you have entered is not meant for simply stopping the onrush of thoughts, and
    mental chatter. It leads to nonpareil lofty spiritual pinnacle.

    With kind regards,

    K S Venkataraman

  • Dear Ms. Patsie Smith,

    This is a very good article and so I share with you these two minor points.

    In the line beginning with ‘Even if the silence was miniscule…’ change it as minuscule.

    In the last line, ‘your soul purpose in life’ change it as sole.

    With kind regards,

    K S Venkataraman

  • Patsie Smith

    Thank you Mr Venkataraman for your genuine feedback. Yes we’ve just corrected the spelling error of ‘miniscule’, thanks for pointing it out. The last line however is not a spelling error. It is meant as ‘soul purpose’. Your life purpose is here to serve your soul purpose. Your roles, beliefs, experiences, creations are for your soul purpose of evolution and reunion. I’m sure you know what I mean…Namaste.

  • Patsie Smith

    Thank you. I’m honoured with your compliments on the article. Yes I do know of Ramana Maharshi and his words. Him and many enlightened masters have contributed immensely to my path, I’ve looked into Advaita works along my journey, which actually overlaps with Zen as well. In my book I have offered gratitude and respect to all who have contributed toward my journey – from Buddhism to Eckhart Tolle. Mooji was actually instrumental in my ‘final’ profound shift into nonduality through one particular line he spoke, which pierced straight through a major residual illusion I had left at the time. But I have not followed teachings of strictly any particular as that seemed to have been my path, as the Buddha had said “Place no head above your own”. I respect and embrace all teachings that stay true to the source, that’s why I hold all enlightened masters that have stayed true to the source with utmost love and respect, for its so easy to get tainted or diverted if one is not vigilant. As you may know, teachings are to be valued, but true learning comes from the pure application of what has been passed down and That has been my main teacher – the fruition of all the truths through my own experience and learning in line with all spiritual wisdom. And continuous learning while I’m still a human being. Such a graceful gift. In this article I only wanted to bring share my story in regards to the mental mind, of course a life story will consist of a whole book, or more 🙂 Perhaps you might like to download my free ebook, though that’s not a story about me. For at the time of writing that book, I couldn’t write about ‘me’ at all as there was literally no ‘self’ but the next 12 months that followed, led me to the full integration. It is only recently that I can start writing and speaking about the ‘self’ but not from the same place as before. Blessings to you!

  • Karthik

    Thanks for this amazing article, Patsie! It totally made me realize that I fall prey to emotions and feelings every once in a while. But now that I have read your article I am back standing tall and bold. Thanks again! 🙂

  • Patsie Smith

    You’re most welcomed Karthik. So happy the words spoke to you and that you can regain your rightful place as the awareness of your thoughts and feelings, to embrace life to the full and flow with it! Blessings! 🙂

  • Thanks. I understand.

  • Dear Ms. Patsie Smith,

    Thanks for your response. I expected it. I am happy to know that you have studied about Bhagawan Ramana Maharshi also.

    Really, your writing reflects what I too believe. Each living being is unique and enjoys a direct access to the Absolute Reality. The interconnections are only to serve as a part of the holistic divine master plan. When I gave the reference about Bhagawan Ramana Maharshi to you, I did not mean to show you a whole new path or to dramatically change your beliefs and efforts. I just wanted to share relevant information.

    The other day, there was some difficulty in accessing your website. I shall certainly have the advantage of reading your book.

    Wish you success in the achievement of your soul purpose.

    With kind regards,

    K S Venkataraman

  • Patsie Smith

    Indeed we never stop learning, I’m always open. Its an honor and pleasure to have made connections with you through this post. Its great that we all share the passion to help others come to their own expanded reality, for it’s more than just a belief system. Light to you Mr Venkataraman. Namaste. 🙂

  • Ramaprasad

    Pls attend onenessuniversity courses to know more about SELF U will become silent

  • Tushar

    I want to offer my thanks to you,,, for enlightening and touching the deepest parts which were earlier unknown to me…. I am a seventeen yr. Old student and I want to know more about How to practise meditation…… As i donot know the right way to do it …,,it would be very helpful for me … if you can yourself explain….. Once again mam ….Thanks a lot..