• Rachael Shaffer

Soak in the SILENCE...

Silence is so vital for our well-being, and yet so few of us value the effects enough to unplug for any significant amount of time. Many of us are addicted to chatter, distraction, and chaos, which compels us to fill that void in order to escape the present moment or distract ourselves from the endless thoughts in our heads. Without dedicated time to being quiet and still, our brains never get an opportunity to recharge and reboot.

We may assume that sleeping is our time to soak in the silence, and that is a very important time for the mind-body to reset, recharge, and revitalize. However, if you have the television on all night or the radio playing or even a light source turned on, your brain still has so much to process that it does not adequately reboot your system. Without that necessary time dedicated to peace and quiet, anxiety and overwhelm can quickly accumulate until we feel OUT OF CONTROL.

Oftentimes we're afraid to turn the volume down in our lives because it's serving a purpose. It's drowning out the voice of dissatisfaction or sadness or loneliness or shame; any of which we could use as important feedback- if only we weren't in resistance all the time. Too many of us don't know how to turn the chatter off. When we do turn off the television or mute our ipod, the chatter in our minds continues. Your mind and body are so connected that if consistent monkey mind chatter is an issue for you, that directly informs me of how you're using your body.

When someone struggles to quiet his or her mind, it is because tension is building in the body and he or she is cut off from the oxygen supply. Shoulders are collapsed; neck is tensed. Breathing is shallow; brow is furrowed. If the chatter is auditory in nature (hearing words and phrases), the eyes will move laterally from left to right. If the mind is being barraged with images, the eyes will looking up and possibly scanning right to left, left to right. And if it is emotions and sensations that are overwhelming him or her, the eyes will look down, possibly alternating from right to left, left to right.

If this sounds like you, the great news is that you're aware enough to take control right now! First off, you'll want more oxygen getting to your brain, so roll your shoulders back and lengthen your neck and spine. Your head should be forward, ready and willing to face the world. (If your head is back, you're in daydream/ disassociating territory. If it's down, you're in depression/ shame land.) Now take deep, connected breaths. You may want to inhale on a 5 count, hold for 20, exhale for 10, and repeat 3 times.

Now your brain has enough oxygen that it won't be screaming for your attention. :-) So, I'd like you to try something now... Close your eyes and imagine what it would feel like if your heart could breathe. With each inhale, imagine energy flowing into your heart and as you exhale, energy flows out of your heart. Your mind will want to wander, and as you notice that, bring your focus back to your heart. Do this for less than a minute and you've begun to establish coherence between your mind and your heart. You're now in a space where the truth can be heard. Soak in the SILENCE...

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