How Silence can Transform Your Life

2 min

Far away from the city, deep in the woods, lived an old wise monk.

News got into the city that the old monk’s time had come. One of his old students heard the news and decided to meet his old master.

The monk laid on a mat, looked at his student, and smiled.

Master, you will be gone soon,” said the young man, “Give me your greatest secret to life.”

Attention,” said the monk.

Can you explain it, dear master?

Attention, attention”.

The young man grew impatient.

I understand but can you explain how it is the greatest secret to life?

Attention, attention, attention”, said the Monk.

Imagine you are in a pitch-dark room. The wall in front of you has thousands of postcard sized pictures. And you have a flashlight with a very narrow beam of light that can focus only on one picture at a time.

The above is an analogy for your mind.

The room is your mind. The pictures are the contents of your mind. And the beam of light is attention.

And the world has become so noisy that it moves that beam like a disco light.

If that beam of light keeps moving all over the wall, you can never make out who’s in the picture. Or in other words, understand something deeply.

The impressions from the outer world act as triggers that move that beam of light from one thing to another.

When that beam of light is not still, we overthink everything. Everything looks blurred. Simply because you cannot focus on one thing.

A still mind is stillness of attention. And stillness of attention comes from silence.

Whenever you find time, spend at least 30 minutes in silence.

Keep your phone away. Close your door. Grab a chair and just sit.

You don’t have to meditate or pray or chant a mantra, just sit.

Pick a spot on the wall, an object, or something outside the window. Now just take long deep breaths and keep your focus on it.

You may experience a little bit of anxiety and restlessness in the beginning. It’s because your attention is in the habit of constantly moving from one thing to another. But it will pass.

The attention will keep jumping from one thing to another, but it will slow down. From ten things to five, and finally to just one.

Keep it there. As long as you can.

I don’t have words to describe how you will feel. It’s an experience. But when you do it, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

The clever algorithms of social media have hacked our attention. They’ve trained our minds to constantly jump from one thing to another. Which, as a result, causes anxiety and a lack of focus.

This is the single greatest practice you can do as an introvert to recharge your batteries. Not only that, it will sharpen your focus too.

You will easily be able to concentrate on one thing for a long time without getting distracted. Like reading a book, painting, writing, or anything that requires long focused attention.

Attention is the key to a calm relaxed mind. And ultimately a peaceful life.

It’s time to take it back and use it for the things you want in your life.

And I’ll leave you with an old saying,

If you cannot take out 30 minutes in a day for yourself, you probably need an hour.

Stay blessed,

– Karun