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A Yogic Practice to Quiet the Mind

A Yogic Practice to Quiet the Mind


    The human mind is always talking, especially in the conscious state, when you are awake. The average human being breathes around 21,600 times in twenty-four hours. And in those twenty four hours, an average person goes through sixty thousand thoughts. Thoughts reveal the human mind’s talkative nature, developed over millions of years of evolution.

    Meditation is the art, the science, of quieting your mind. However, a great number of meditators will quit meditation at the early stages — before they can even gain any tangible benefits from meditation. There are certain practices that can help a meditator develop their meditation skills. Such practices that help them not only meditate flawlessly, but also experience greater peace and joy in life.

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    One such practice is called mauna. It means “to observe silence”. It is in silence alone that one is able to examine the drift of one’s thoughts. It is easier to realize the talkative nature of mind while observing silence. Quietude of the speech is merely one type of silence; the ultimate goal is quieting the mind.  The inexplicable bliss one experiences is beyond all verbiage. In the beginning stages, you can compare observing silence to fasting, a fast from speaking.

    So, let me share with you the practice of observing silence. Start with small periods first. The shortest being at least one straight stretch of twenty four hours. I know given your commitments, that it may be hard to be silent for twenty-four hours but trust me — the results will make you want to do it more often. If you are merely observing silence of the speech by refraining from speaking, you are only fifty percent there. The practice involves observing complete silence; that means not holding any type of conversation. Please see the chart below: 

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      For example, let’s say that one Saturday night you decide to observe silence for twenty-four hours. You vow to start your practice on Sunday morning and end it on Monday morning. During that time, if you make any verbal comments, the impact is red and huge. Basically that is instant failure; you need to restart the practice. Avoid interactions of all types, and refrain from watching television. In the initial stages, you can read a newspaper or a book — even that brings down the quality of your silence. However, as you progress you will need to give up reading during periods of silence as well.

      Ideally, you should just be in a room in your own company. Observing silence does not mean that you can just sleep for sixteen out of twenty-four hours. You will merely be wasting your time in that case. Remember, we are not observing sleep but silence. The more mindful and alert you are, the better your practice. When in complete silence, you start to gain awareness of the talkative nature of your mind. The restless nature of the mind is best revealed and tamed in a state of quiescence.

      Observing silence has a negative impact on your ability to meditate. But that’s only in the initial stage. That is because your mind is not trained to be quiet. You are likely to experience a certain restlessness as well. You need not be alarmed; it is only natural. With persistence and patience, a quietude starts to dawn. And that is going to get you ready for good meditation. Observing silence is comparable to preparing a fertile ground to sow the seeds of meditation.

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      (I wrote on the types of conversations human mind is always holding some time ago; you may want to read up on that here.)

      The practice of observing silence is absolutely critical for the seeker desiring to experience a state of “superconsciousness”. Just like when you are enjoying yourself listening to your iPod, the external noise seems to subside automatically. The inner music of the soul renders all external sounds immaterial. You no longer feel bothered by who is saying what about you. You no longer feel the urge to join the rat race.

      Instead, you get time to stop, to pause, to think, to contemplate…and better lead your life.

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      (Photo credit: Mindful Practice at Sunset via Shutterstock)

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        Last Updated on August 4, 2020

        8 Benefits of a Minimalist Lifestyle That Get You to Live With Less

        8 Benefits of a Minimalist Lifestyle That Get You to Live With Less

        Minimalism is a way to put a stop to the gluttony of the world around us. It’s the opposite of every advertisement we see plastered on the radio and TV. We live in a society that prides itself on the accumulation of stuff; we eat up consumerism, material possessions, clutter, debt, distractions and noise.

        What we don’t seem to have is any meaning left in our world.

        By adopting a minimalist lifestyle, you can throw out what you don’t need in order to focus on what you do need.

        I know first hand how little we actually need to survive. I was fortunate enough to live in a van for four months while traveling throughout Australia. This experience taught me valuable lessons about what really matters and how little we really need all this stuff we surround ourselves with.

        Less is more.

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        Living a minimalist lifestyle is reducing.There are a few obvious benefits of minimalism such as less cleaning and stress, a more organized household and more money to be found, but there are also a few deep, life-changing benefits.

        What we don’t usually realize is that when we reduce, we reduce a lot more than just stuff.

        Consider just some of the benefits of living with fewer possessions:

        1. Create Room for What’s Important

        When we purge our junk drawers and closets we create space and peace. We lose that claustrophobic feeling and we can actually breathe again. Create the room to fill up our lives with meaning instead of stuff.

        2. More Freedom

        The accumulation of stuff is like an anchor, it ties us down. We are always terrified of losing all our ‘stuff’. Let it go and you will experience a freedom like never before: a freedom from greed, debt, obsession and overworking.

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        3. Focus on Health and Hobbies

        When you spend less time at Home Depot trying unsuccessfully to keep up with the Joneses, you create an opening to do the things you love, things that you never seem to have time for.

        Everyone is always saying they don’t have enough time, but how many people really stop and look at what they are spending their time doing?

        You could be enjoying a day with your kids, hitting up the gym, practicing yoga, reading a good book or traveling. Whatever it is that you love you could be doing, but instead you are stuck at Sears shopping for more stuff.

        4. Less Focus on Material Possessions

        All the stuff we surround ourselves with is merely a distraction, we are filling a void. Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy comfort. After the initial comfort is satisfied, that’s where our obsession with money should end.

        We are bombarded by the media presenting promises of happiness through materialistic measures. It’s no wonder we struggle everyday. Resist those urges. It’s an empty path, it won’t make you happy.

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        It’s hard not to get roped into the consumerism trap. I need constant reminders that it’s a false sense of happiness. I enjoy stuff, but I also recognize that I don’t need it.

        5. More Peace of Mind

        When we cling onto material possessions we create stress because we are always afraid of losing these things. By simplifying your life you can lose your attachment to these things and ultimately create a calm, peaceful mind.

        The less things you have to worry about, the more peace you have, and it’s as simple as that.

        6. More Happiness

        When de-cluttering your life, happiness naturally comes because you gravitate towards the things that matter most. You see clearly the false promises in all the clutter, it’s like a broken shield against life’s true essence.

        You will also find happiness in being more efficient, you will find concentration by having refocused your priorities, you will find joy by enjoying slowing down.

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        7. Less Fear of Failure

        When you look at Buddhist monks, they have no fear, and they have no fear because they don’t have anything to lose.

        In whatever you wish to pursue doing you can excel, if you aren’t plagued with the fear of losing all your worldly possessions. Obviously you need to take the appropriate steps to put a roof over your head, but also know that you have little to fear except fear itself.

        8. More Confidence

        The entire minimalist lifestyle promotes individuality and self reliance. This will make you more confident in your pursuit of happiness.

        What’s Next? Go Minimalism.

        If you’re ready to start living a minimalist lifestyle, these articles can help you to kickstart:

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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