Posts tagged ‘Winter’

The Sweet Sanctuary of Silence – Monica Myers

I am comforted by the sweet sanctuary of silence. And most especially this time of the year. There is something about the frozen earth, diminished sunlight, and greater darkness – when all of nature is hushed and sleeping, awaiting cyclic renewal – that prompts me to seek out silent moments. It is an instinct, really.

All of our technological inventions, our conveniences and gear, our artificially warmed homes, have made winter conditions less harsh and more comfortable, but they have not – and for this I am grateful – made us immune to the organic rhythms of the earth. Our personal and collective human biological states are connected to the natural world in ways both subtle and obvious.  I take great comfort in knowing that nature holds profound wisdom and is perpetually reflecting life’s lessons back to me.

Now, I confess that I do enjoy winter and secretly take both pleasure and pride in the special quality of magical Colorado snow that blankets our beloved state. But those first winter days of biting cold and suddenly diminished sunlight can be shockingly rude (how dare Mother Nature!), as if one breezy door has careened shut and another, heavier door to a more subdued reality is beckoning. We humans are often unsettled by change and with the change of seasons I at first find myself uncomfortable, unsettled, and restless.

And then I remember.

It’s often a bodily remembrance first. I begin to move more slowly, crave richer foods, desire less socialization and more stillness. Then that bodily remembrance reaches inward, washing over my whole being. Just as the life force of the natural world folds in on itself in hibernation, I feel an inner call to withdraw energy from the external world and shift attention more directly to my inner world. It starts as a sort of gentle, friendly curiosity, this inner call. And then, something deep within my soul stirs. Listening to this voice, I move closer to silence and closer to greater connection with my soul.

When I allow this silence to settle, something amazing inevitably happens. The silence actually fills with a presence—not an emptiness. I know this presence to be a part of myself; it has been patiently yearning for utterance and in the silence it naturally and effortlessly comes alive.

Mahatma Gandhi said:

“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.”

The expanded sense of self that often arises in an attitude of silence can also be referred to as “felt sense.” Elfie Hinterkopf, PhD., described:

“The felt sense is a wonderful phenomenon. It contains all of your inner knowing about a given situation and that which you do not yet know about yourself. Your felt sense can lead you to the next growth step. It can even sense an answer that has not yet been experienced. The felt sense is something before mind, body, and spirit are split apart.”

A felt sense can be about anything – difficult feelings and experiences or uplifting, positive ones. Either way we tap into the river of experience that is flowing through us and deepen our connection to the here and now. We instinctively attend to that which facilitates our transformation and growth.

Like other mindfulness practices, cultivating felt sense takes time.

All you need to start is a willingness to see what wants to appear. Then direct your attention to the body. You might begin by noticing your breath first and then other sensations, content, images, and intricacies. See what arises and welcome it. If something specific comes up, stay with it for a while, keep it company. The amount of time you may need varies. Don’t worry about doing it “right.” Explore, play, and listen to your innate intelligence. And let me know how it goes. You may find, as I did, that the silence is not so silent after all.

Feel free to contact Monica Myers at monimyers69@gmail.com with comments, curiosities, and questions.

 

People House: a Center for Personal and Spiritual Growth