How much time do you spend in solitude and silence? In this time and age, it’s easy to guess not much. We are attached to our cell phones, we constantly interact with people in person and on social media, and we get bombarded with all kinds of stimuli and news as we go about our daily routines.
I live in the mountains, so even when I spend a quiet evening on my porch the sounds of nature can get quite loud. Solitude may be easier, but silence requires mindfulness and discipline, because even if there’s no external noise the ego-mind is continuously producing thoughts you hear.
The ancient sages of India understood sound as the movement of energy and the cause of Creation. When there is a movement of energy in nature, it creates a sound. It can be as loud as thunder or as quiet as the buzzing of a bumblebee or the wind blowing. It can be as subtle as your own breathing. There’s ongoing movement and sound everywhere, so much so that you forget to listen to the silence behind it all.
Silence is beyond time, space, and causation. It is Consciousness, the eternal Presence within and around you. In this sense, silence is your true nature, the permanent reality where sound appears and disappears. Sound originates from silence, then it creates speech, and speech creates language to connect us to each other and to everything else through self-expression—feelings, emotions, desires, and actions.
It also maintains the illusion of duality by producing thoughts, ideas, and imaginations divided by the ego-mind as subject and object: your sense of self and your sense of otherness (or me vs. others). When speech and language cease, both externally and internally, then inner silence is experienced within, giving rise to the non-duality of existence—the infinite source of Divine Consciousness.
But you have to make room for this silence by being still yet fully present in life, which doesn’t come easy unless you remain self-aware and develop your listening skills on a regular basis. It doesn’t mean you just listen to everyone else and stop expressing yourself; rather, you express yourself in creative cooperation with another, from your sense of self rather than the usual sense of otherness that judges, compares, and separates. In other words, you silence the noise distorting a direct experience of reality.
Passive Vs. Active But Non-Attached Listening
Listening can be perceived as a passive act where you become the soundboard for someone else’s need for expression. However, if you understand that your life is not separate from you, but an extension and projection of everything you are—a personalized mental movie—you’re motivated to pay attention and actively listen to everything and everyone, to learn more about yourself and understand what your life is about. Then you’ll be able to express yourself more clearly from a place of self-awareness.
If you listen with concentration and full presence of mind, without any pressure or stress about what you’re supposed to say or feel, you create a space where Consciousness can emerge, in that moment, as clarity: about your impulses, triggers, judgments, attachments, and fears. When you observe these without reacting or getting emotionally invested, you give way to empathy. This is key for good communication in your relationships, but it also benefits you personally because it pushes your ego to the background.
Listening with mindfulness and non-attachment—that is, without the need to reply, justify, convince, counsel, fix, or be right—nurtures the inner silence that is your true nature, leaving mental imprints of peace. To really listen to another person, you must listen to yourself first by removing all the noise created by your sense of otherness that keeps a distorted perception of being unheard or misunderstood. In this context, listening means:
- Being fully present and concentrated on what you’re listening to, with curiosity rather than fear, greed, or defensiveness.
- Holding back any unconscious impulse to react or respond immediately due to unpleasant emotions or pressure.
- Remaining centered and detached to gain a broader perspective of what’s being said, and why.
- Keeping some emotional distance to recognize familiar dynamics between you and others.
- Moving your ego to the background by inviting the eternal Presence or Inner Witness to observe the conversation.
- Having an attitude of empathy to come to a mutual understanding, in creative cooperation and balanced responsibility.
Even if triggered by a conversation, you must try to keep centered, with this intention in the back of your mind: “How can I find the path of least resistance that would benefit everyone involved?” And in regards to being triggered, “What am I so attached to or afraid of?” As you open up to new possibilities of experience, you’ll watch your life-movie shift toward greater love. But you have to remain attentive and aware to avoid going back to old, outdated dynamics filled with the noise and fuzziness of the ego-mind.
When gaining clarity about who you really are is more important than being right or expecting others to meet your wounded needs, your life becomes a soul-guided journey of self-exploration where Consciousness silently graces you with the truth. This is the wisdom you must cultivate to grow spiritually—the intuitive knowing that sets you free as you engage in the world from a place of love. So contact me today to better understand the elusive nature of ego that prevents you from embracing inner silence and peace to experience emotional and spiritual freedom!
© 2019 Yol Swan. All rights reserved.