Silence as Yoga

I recently read, and would highly recommend, Silence as Yogaby Swami Paramananda. One of the themes that spoke to me the most was  how the practice of silence can lead to much more productive and fruitful action.  Out of silence emerges creative thought, focused energy, calm resolve. Often, when meditating, it feels frightening to let go of the mental noise, as though we cannot be productive without constantly adding to our mental list of tasks that need to be completed. Our energy becomes scattered as we try to hold everything in at once.

When the mind focuses on trying to hold on to worries and the other million things we have to do, we are unconsciously hiding a deeper emotional issue. Underlying stress and anxiety is a fear of letting go, a fear of surrender, ultimately, a fear of death. We are terrified that if we let go, everything will come apart and we will die. Anxiety and stress are coping mechanisms for fear of death.

Then, when we strip away another layer, we find another hidden assumption, and the root of our ego. The feeling that if we let go, everything will fall apart is akin to thinking that we are God. It is an illusion to imagine that through our minds we have real control over ourselves, our lives, and especially the entire world. This does not imply powerlessness or weakness at all. In fact, only once we recognize this can we connect to our true power. Many spiritual paths and religions assert the paradox that one must die to live. As Paramananda says, creativity, focus and energy comes out of silence. It may seem impossible that action and energy comes from silence.  Our ego, the surface level where our fear and anxiety resides, must be moved away so that the deeper levels can emerge and the reality of Tat Tvam Asi (I am That) can be realized.

“If water derives lucidity from stillness, how much more the faculties of the mind! The mind of the sage, being in repose, becomes the mirror of the universe, the speculum of all creation.” -Chuang Tzu

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  1. Michael said,

    February 12, 2010 at 3:59 am

    My preferred form of meditation is exercise! Pretty counterintuitive,especially when you’re sweating in a noisy gym. However, because I spend most of my day in my mind it’s a joy to get into my body and out of my head.Deb has also taught me to lie on the earth and release my negative thoughts into the ground. I find it to be quite relaxing.

  2. February 12, 2010 at 4:40 am

    Definitely. whether its at the gym or anywhere, being connected in the body is so key in meditation. Many “sitting” meditations also emphasize body awareness as the first step to being in the present moment. I also agree, nothing beats lying on the earth. So unfortunately hard to do in NYC, but I try!

  3. February 15, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    Excellent post!
    Silence is a true yoga practice and I find space in my day for silence. Sometimes it is in my car driving to work or home with no music or radio on, going for a walk, in the morning when I wake up and my wife and dog are still sleeping, in between clients or groups at work. There is time if you go looking.

    Peace to you,

  4. February 15, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    Wow, I just noticed I am on your blogroll. That is very kind of you.

    Thank you, I need to do a blogroll too.


    • February 17, 2010 at 3:31 am

      No problem at all! I love your blog and so wanted to direct other people to it. Thanks for the comment.


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