I always hated silence.
Those moments when there’s a pause in speech and the room suddenly goes quiet. Or the times that you are home alone and the television is off, so all you hear is the sound of your own breathing. Or the times when a sudden hush comes over the room and you can hear the sound of a pin drop.
Yeah. I hated those.
It’s funny, if you think about it because I grew up as an only child. I was used to the room being quiet or the deafening silence that can descend upon a home. But because I hated silence, I always found a way to fill the silence. I would sing or listen to music or put the TV on at full blast. Or I would invite all my friends over and my cousins and build fortresses in our living room. I found many ways to escape the silence.
And then, this year, I was introduced to vipassana, an ancient Indian form of silent meditation. My first week of yoga teacher training at I Love Yoga studio, I sat in silent meditation for 6 hours.
“Vipassana, which means to see things as they really are, is one of India’s most ancient techniques of meditation.” Within a full vipassana, you voyage on a 10 day silent meditation that involves searching within yourself. When you emerge, you are renewed and reborn.
Sitting in Silence
When I learned we would be sitting in silent meditation, I wanted to run for the hills. This silence, this thing that I had been avoiding all my life, was now right in front of me. God has a funny way of making us confront our fears, whether we like it or not.
Vipassana, even for 6 hours, is not easy. I went through a range of emotions in that silence. From happy and content, to sorrowful and upset, to agitated and frustrated. I voyaged through time and space, I visited with loved ones that had crossed over. I thought about the trees and the oceans. I felt the sorrow of the earth. And then, I returned to me. Just sitting there, breathing, in a room full of people, completely silent.
In that uncomfortable silence, I began to have vast realizations about myself. Why was I so scared of the silence? Why did it make me want to run? Why did I need so many distractions from myself?
All these thoughts flooded my mind. I pushed each of them away, trying to focus on nothing. Trying to think of nothing at all.
Finding the Beauty
We were given a break and were allowed to use the rest room and eat something. As I walked outside, I started to hear the sounds that I had always been so resistant to stopping and listening to:
The birds, the cars going by, the breeze, the hum of dragonflies, the leaves rustling in the trees, the sound of my feet on the earth.
This was the silence I had been hiding from.
It was beautiful.
A few minutes later, it began to rain and I stood in the rain dancing like a crazed child. Jumping and laughing and letting my inner child free. Something I hadn’t done in years.
It was also beautiful.
And when we went back to the silence, I knew my life was transforming before my very eyes. I knew I would emerge from this room a different person than the one that walked in. The one that was so scared of herself that she would find anyone and anything to distract her.
My silence…my meditation…is no my sanctuary. I don’t hide from it. I don’t flee. I don’t drown it in the sound of a loud television. I embrace it. I welcome it.
Because within the silence, I find myself.
About the Author
Suki Eleuterio is a writer, energy healer, yoga teacher and poet living in South Florida. As the creative mind behind Sookton’s Space and Found My Light, she enjoys writing and discussing spirituality, holistic health, and vegetarianism. Over the years, Suki has spent time finding her own spiritual path. You can follow her musings on Twitter and Instagram.
Main picture by ShaniStudios