Silent meditation, as its name suggests, entails eliminating any external noise, such as music or a teacher's instruction, and creating a present-moment awareness of your body.
This style of meditation, also known as unguided meditation, has been used by Buddhists for over 2,500 years. According to Jenelle Kim, DACM, this practice emphasizes mindfulness to create serenity, clarity, and acceptance.
There are numerous methods of meditating in silence, including vipassana. This method's name is derived from a Buddhist phrase that means to view things as they truly are.
Here is information on the benefits of silent meditation, as well as advice on how to practice it.
What Distinguishes Silent Meditation From Other Styles of Meditation?
Meditation doesn't necessarily require silence. It could include:
- Guided teaching mantras that can help you remain present
- Centered music or nature sounds
Many individuals prefer guided meditations. In this kind of meditation, an instructor guides the practitioner through each stage. As beginner meditators become accustomed to the practice, guided meditation can be extremely beneficial.
The benefits of meditation have been examined in depth.
Studies show that meditation can aid:
- Reduce stress, despair, and anxiety
- Promote empathy
- Improve concentration and sleep, and overall mood
Both sitting and silent meditation may help you better regulate your emotions, even negative ones, so that they do not overwhelm you, according to a 2012 review. These emotional management abilities may be especially beneficial for those with certain mental health disorders, such as:
- depression obsessive-compulsive disorder
- phobias in post-traumatic stress disorder
Active Meditation in Silence
The above-mentioned 2012 study also revealed that meditation can alter how you respond and react to unfavorable environmental stimuli. Consider that your partner is rolling their eyes or ignoring you. Your initial response may be one of rage.
But if you've been meditating in silence, you may find it simpler to pause, consider how their actions affected you, and gently describe how they made you feel without assuming their intentions.
Dr. Poornima Sharma, a meditation instructor at the Art of Living Retreat Center, cites the following additional advantages of silent meditation:
- Reduced stress and enhanced capacity to manage stress; increased joy and vigor; and enhanced concentration.
- Higher energy levels
- Improved capacity to listen and connect more deeply with people
- Greater clarity in a variety of settings, including work, parenting, and relationships, as a result of improved sleep quality.
- Heightened consciousness of your mental and physical wellbeing
Consequently, this practice may make it easier for you to maintain composure amid stressful conditions or when you detect a threat.
Potential Negatives to Consider
Although anyone can attempt quiet meditation, it is not necessarily effective for everyone.
You may find it difficult, for instance, to remain in the present moment in complete silence. Therefore, if you're new to meditation, you may want to begin with guided meditation until you feel comfortable leading your own practice.
It Could Take a While
Some state that it takes up to 90 days of daily practice to observe good benefits. Therefore, you may not always immediately perceive the benefits of silent meditation. However, if your practice does not appear to have any bad side effects, it may be worthwhile to continue it for a while longer.
On certain days, it may be simple to calm your mind. On other occasions, it may be nearly impossible to silence the noise in your thoughts. Both experiences are common and quite acceptable. As with any other new ability, you may need additional time to build the mental muscles involved in order to get the desired results.
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How to Practice It
When beginning silent meditation (or meditation in general), it is recommended to begin with brief 5- to 10-minute sessions.
Here is how to engage in silent meditation:
- Find a peaceful place to practice and settle in. You may sit cross-legged on a floor cushion or with your feet flat on the ground in a chair.
- Create a timer for your practice sessions. Choose a gong or relaxing sound rather than a harsh alarm sound.
- Close your eyes gently and rest into the silence.
- Choose an area to concentrate on. Begin with the breath by observing the expansion and contraction of your abdomen and chest, as well as the sensation of air flowing in and out of your nostrils. (Below are two breathing exercises for you to try.)
- You may now opt to proceed to your body. Focus on any tense areas and attempt to relax them. Consider how your clothing or the air touches your skin.
- Also available is a body scan. Starting at the top of your head and working your way down to your toes, observe any bodily feelings you are experiencing.
- Focus your attention on the outside world. This may involve observing the room's temperature, odors, and minor sounds, such as a refrigerator's humming.
- If and when emotions develop, make an effort to notice them without judging them. Remember that there is no correct or incorrect way to feel at this time.
- Create a simple labeling system for incoming thoughts, such as past or future, remembering or planning. Simply label the distracting idea and then return your focus to your breath or body when it arises during meditation.
Remember that it is very normal for your mind to wander while meditation.
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Suggested Breathing Exercises:
- Box Breathing: Inhale for four counts via the nose, hold for four counts, and then exhale through the mouth for four counts. Repeat between three and four times.
- 3-Part Breathing: Exhale into the upper chest and collarbone. On the exhale, allow the air to first leave your upper collarbone and chest, to your rib cage, and lastly your abdomen. Repeat several times.
Until you become accustomed to these breathing exercises, you may feel the need to take a break between each component. Eventually, you will likely discover that you can easily navigate between each section.
Remember, the fundamental premise of silent meditation is to return your focus to your breath whenever your mind wanders away from the present.
Can a Meditation Instructor Assist?
Silent meditation is one of the most challenging forms of meditation for many individuals. This is because distracted thoughts are more likely to arise when there is no one to guide you through the procedure.
Nevertheless, anyone can perfect it with sufficient practice. You can begin your search for a local meditation instructor with the following directories:
You still have options if you cannot find a local meditation instructor or would like to practice silent meditation on your own.
There are numerous videos of silent meditation available online:
- 5 minutes
- 10 minutes
- 15 minutes
- 30 minutes
- 1 hour
These videos function as a timer, with a gong announcing the beginning and conclusion of your meditation.
Would you rather begin with guided meditation and then transfer to silent meditation? Apps can help you get started with meditation. Several alternatives to consider include:
Related Link: How to Calm Down: Tips to Relax Your Mind and Body
When To Contact A Professional
What if silent meditation (or any other type of meditation) fails to alleviate your mental health issues, such as feelings of melancholy and anxiety? At this stage, experts recommend seeking additional treatment from a licensed therapist or other mental health professional.
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Trying Silent Meditation
Silent meditation is an activity that can offer us many life-long benefits if practiced at least once a week. It can help improve moods, reduce stress and anxiety, focus our minds, and help us to sleep better. Having peace of mind through focusing on ourselves is so important yet often overlooked in modern day turbulent times.
While we are all searching for the perfect solution to improving mindsets and enlightenment, the answer may be right under our noses; taking some time out of your day to simply sit with yourself in silence has proven to be an incredible challenge but an even more potentially wonderful prize.
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