20 Ways Sitting in Silence Can Completely

Transform Your Life

By: Tiny Buddha, where this was originally featured.
“Silence is a source of great strength.” ~Lao Tzu
For over two years I spent one out of every four weeks in silence. At the time I was living
at a Zen Monastery and every month we would have a week-long silent retreat.
During this retreat we sat meditation in silence, ate in silence, worked in silence, and only
communicated through hand gestures and written notes.
At first living like this was hard, but over time I learned to grow to appreciate silence. By
the time I left I learned that silence was my friend and teacher.
What did silence teach me?
1. SATISFACTION
I used to think I needed to watch TV every night. But at monastery I went without and
discovered I didn’t need it.
Silence taught me to be happy with less. Pick something that’s weighing you down and
let it go. Your life will thank you.
2. EXPRESSION
When you can only talk by writing a note, you only say what’s important. Before the
monastery I talked a lot but said little.

5. It will make paying attention easier. I know that the sound of wind in fall is different than it is in winter. try to really listen. THOUGHTS I once sat a retreat next door to a construction project. 3. Silence taught me to appreciate the value of relating to others. It showed me how my phone divided my attention. Take a short walk outside in silence and you’ll discover the wisdom and peace that nature has to offer. ATTENTION Several times at my first retreat I thought my phone was vibrating. I lost track of my body. 4. Deep listening expresses deep appreciation. BODY During retreat I noticed that whenever I got lost in thought. I realized if my thoughts were this loud. Close your eyes and ask. 7. but when I couldn’t talk I learned how much I relied on others. NATURE Because I sat retreat in every season. The next time you are with someone you care about.Silence taught me that a few simple words well spoken have more power than hours of chatter. What amazed me was how easily my thoughts drowned out the noise. “What sensations do I feel in my hand?” Learning to feel your body can calm your troubled mind. 6. The next time you see your friends or family. my thoughts would calm down. try turning off your phone and putting it away. But then I would remember I didn’t have my phone. Silence taught me how important it is to let go of distractions. . Silence taught me the importance of shaping my thinking. APPRECIATION Being able to speak makes life easy. And when I focused on my body. Silence taught me to notice nature. Think of one simple thing you can say that would help someone feel better and say it. Silence taught me to be in my body. I’d better make them as wise as possible. Take time each day to notice your thoughts and let go of thoughts that don’t serve you.

The next time you face something difficult. SOUND People would come to the monastery and remark how quiet it was. Silence taught me that people display great beauty. the more settled your mind can become. 13. But retreat taught me that if I avoided something it would never go away.8. Sit in front of your house and close your eyes. HUMANITY During retreat I was surrounded by imperfect people who were doing their best. from frogs. 10. Find a good spot to people watch with an open heart. to owls. Silence taught me that love can be simple. Silence taught me that the world is a rich texture of sounds. But living at the monastery I knew all the noises. The less you see and hear. Think of someone you haven’t said I love you to recently and tell them. You’ll be amazed at what you hear if you listen long enough. some were sad. Some were happy. What you see may inspire you. Enjoy some quiet time everyday. Silence taught me the importance of reducing the stimulation. 9. . OVERSTIMULATION Whenever I went into town after retreat. I would just distract myself. Silence taught me that space helps me face hard times. LOVE I used to think love was this big thing. COURAGE I used to think courage was about facing danger. but all were wonderfully human. but during retreat I realized that real courage is about facing yourself. I came to realize how much our senses have to process most of the time. pause and honor whatever’s arising. the world seemed so loud and fast. SPACE For a long time anytime something difficult came up. 12. to the sound of sandals on the sidewalk. 11. But in retreat I found that I felt love for so many things.

The next time you are afraid. instead of disagreeing. But living is silence meant I had to trust my instincts. but staying quiet is hard. HONESTY I used to lie so I wouldn’t have to explain myself. Pick one space in your home you could simplify.Silence taught me the courage it takes to be still. Silence isn’t flashy. GRATITUDE During retreat I didn’t have a lot of comforts. 19. 16. Silence taught me to have faith in myself. silently vow not to give up. CONNECTION . Keep it simple for one month and enjoy the ease it offers your life. 14. But when I couldn’t talk I began to notice this impulse and how much it degraded my integrity. but it has an immense power to endure. The next time someone doubts you. 18. PERSEVERANCE Every retreat reminded me that speaking is easy. Notice times where you tell little lies and try telling the truth instead. The next time you begin to feel anxious. Silence taught me the importance of telling the truth. There is immense courage inside your heart. 15. At the end of every day sit in silence and ask yourself what am I grateful for. But at retreat I found I was happier when I kept it simple. Action is speaks volumes. When we stop moving everything we’re running from catches up. It isn’t always easy but it’s the first step to trusting ourselves and others. It helped me see how much I took for granted and how much I had to be grateful for. SIMPLICITY I used to love drama and conflict. FAITH I often ask for reassurance or feedback. 17. Silence taught me that simplicity and joy are close companions. stop and wait for it to pass. sit in silence and see if you can find the space of deep faith that lives in your heart. You’ll be amazed at the blessings you discover.

Silence has taught me a deeper truth than words ever could. It’s there whether you can express it in words or not. It will be awkward at first but eventually you will see what it means just to be in someone presence. TRUTH I studied philosophy in college and I thought I could read about truth. But retreat taught me that truth is found in silence. Do something in silence with someone you love.I used to think I had to talk in order to feel connected. 20. . Sit in silence once a week and feel the truth in your heart. Silence taught me that words can get in the way. I realized during retreat that I can feel connected just by being near people I care about.