In this frenzied world that we live in, having a moment of silence has become a precious commodity. Our waking hours is bombarded with so much information that we have process immediately or decide to put at the back burners of our consciousness ready to be pulled out whenever we think will need it. Even the onset of technology has not helped in regulating this “noise”. As text and e-mail messages are sent immediately, we are also expected to answer them in the fastest possible time. All of these are to be managed on top of deadlines we have to face in the office, the errands we have to perform for our family members, the social obligations we have to attend to. It is not very unusual to hear people complaining that 24 hours is so short to complete every task at hand.
It is general knowledge that slowing down and having a solitary time to get in touch with oneself is very important to keep us sane and functioning well. For the human body and human mind to function to its maximum, it has to have periodic breaks of rest and silence. For the spirit to soar high, the soul has to be given time for contemplation. According to Mohandas Gandhi, “Silence is a great help to a seeker of truth. In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness. Our life is a long and arduous quest after Truth, and the soul requires inward restfulness to attain its full height.” Pope John Paul II says, “In the spiritual order, silence is the state in which the most precious values are born.”. Periods of respite and silence on a daily basis is important for us to clear our minds, to get to know ourselves better, to get in touch with the Divine. For Catholics, the season of Lent and the commemoration of the Holy Week is a time to contemplate one’s life and faith. This can be a good time for Catholics to get serious in practicing a daily quiet time that can get intense during Lent and Holy Week.
However, setting aside time to be silent is easier said than done. Sometimes when we start to do our work, we can’t seem to stop and we just have to finish it no matter what. Plus, since we have been so used to being busy bees we don’t know anymore how to silence our minds and our hearts. Two (2) minutes have yet to pass, we already become restless in our seats raring to run again. So here are some tips that we can apply to achieve silence of the heart and mind:
- The biggest obstacle in achieving silence are external distractions like a phone ringing or kids needing your attention, or even your own daily worries. Thus, try to find a better place and time to do your meditation. It is recommended that we do it in a secluded place. If you will do it at home, it is better to do it at a time when there is peace and quiet.
- It is recommended to have periods of silence in the morning preferably before one starts the day and another in the afternoon as one ends the day.
- For beginners just to sit down for a minute or two and be alone with one’s thoughts can be excruciating. It is recommended to start with five minutes in the morning and another 5 minutes in the afternoon for the first week then extend to 10 minutes for the next week until one gets to reach 30 minutes of quiet time in the morning and another 30 minutes in the afternoon.
- Another obstacle is to make quiet time a habit, to do it everyday. It is easy to make excuses not to do it as we all lead busy lives. This can be solved by wise scheduling; we can try different times and places (and even postures) until we find the setup that fits us our lifestyle.
- We can also use tools to help us have focus as we do our quiet time. We can use soothing, quiet music or we can have an inspirational book as jumping point of our meditation.
- Have a personal journal where you can jot down inspirations that you have received during your quiet time. Review these writings on a monthly basis.
Having a daily quiet time is a call of human nature. Not to heed to this call can be detrimental to our physical, mental and spiritual health. It may entail a lot of effort at the onset but it is all worth it. We quote the good book as this is very much applicable even in this age of information, “If you return and be quiet, you shall be saved: in silence and in hope shall your strength be…” (Isaiah 30:15)