Day 57 lesson – The power of silence
The past days here have been very much routine, something that I’ve spoken of before. And for me, that’s waking up, doing practices for myself, make sure everything’s organized or planned for the day. And then I’ll speak to Mohanji about his activities, the day’s activities, and anything else we need to speak about. And depending on how busy he already is, or how much we need to cover, that will be the time that I spend there.
Then we have morning aarati at 6 am. It’s important here that we all attend, and it takes place in the puja room downstairs. Mohanji will be there sitting in his chair with the windows open, and all the beings that come to see him take his darshan, the birds, and the squirrels.
For the past few days, I’ve been keeping conversation to a minimum because I’ve had some discomfort in my mouth, causing a bit of pain, which is fine, but I’m speaking only when necessary.
This reminded me of one of the really good practical lessons that I observed from Mohanji. I have known about it sometime before being here, but it was also reconfirmed during the Bootcamp session we had. And this is the power of silence. The fact that in any situation that we face, silence is always an option for us, and it can be really powerful.
Before having the role I do now, I used to work in business, large projects mainly, complex technology projects. And there were always many issues because things were never planned, there were never enough people, so we were always tight for time. There were always problems. People would have their interpersonal challenges as well; some people would not get along with others.
In meetings, there would be a competitive environment where many people want to speak over each other to get their point across. Tensions were high because of the pressures, and people would be really easy to snap.
So what I learned from watching some of Mohanji’s videos is that silence is always an option for us in situations. Especially when I felt provoked into speaking or triggered, it was to actually respond with silence rather than reacting to that because I found those situations were often coming from an emotional place. If someone had said something, or I didn’t agree with something, the immediate instinct was to react. And that was one of the habits I had.
This sometimes had a good effect, and other times not so good results, because it either helped move things forward, or it could turn disastrously wrong. Especially if I was critical of someone else because people remember that – the injury of words can last much longer than a physical injury.
So I remember that silence is an option, and sometimes I choose not to speak. And actually, that would be more impactful than trying to speak because lots of people are eager to get their point across.
This holds true now as well. I was thinking about this again, contemplating that previously I’d be very eager to speak, to share my view, but I realized that it’s not always necessary. And also, if someone is angry or frustrated, or they are in an emotional space, then just by being silent, it can be an instant diffuser to that situation that completely calms or neutralizes it.
I found as well that sometimes people are looking for a fight or some provocation. And silence as a response has its power in those situations.
The added benefit, something which I’ve been thinking about more as we’re walking this path, especially silence being a key aspect of it is that when there were situations where I would respond or react with an equal conversation, emotions or frustrations, they would stay much longer in the mind; the events would even replay themselves. This would cause more disturbances because it would spoil my day and also the other interactions.
With silence as a response, the event passes much more quickly. And I see Mohanji responds in this way often in situations, too, especially when questions are asked that don’t necessarily need an answer, where they’re being asked from a place of just for the sake of asking. Using in the appropriate time, silence as a minimum response is always an option.
I hope you enjoyed this, and I’ll be interested to know if any of you have found the same benefits of silence in your interactions.