Silence is Golden

Sitting in meditation is remarkably difficult for some people. The urge to become distracted is so pure and culturally cemented that silence becomes a profoundly difficult thing. We’re inundated by language and spend our entire lives speaking and thinking in words. We view the entire world in terms of words— even things we have no experiential knowledge of. Every event and sensual input is conceptualized for fear of any bit of information being forgotten. Why are humans so obsessed with converting genuine experience into language? To sit and ignore the language of our thoughts for 20 minutes is a harder task than it seems.

Since sitting in silence for 20 minutes is so difficult, it is also important. Meditation was a monumental spiritual practice back when technology consisted of nothing more than butter urns and stone wheels. Nowadays it would seem imperative by comparison. The world today is truly insane. You need not even describe it (to further my point); just look outside or turn on the television. To retreat from this daily barrage of stimuli and technological chaos and sit in silence, ignoring one’s thoughts without forcing them away, could even seem like a heroic act.

We don’t need to think of meditation as heroic, though. We actually don’t need to think about it much at all. We just need to carve out a certain portion of time each day so we can do it unimpeded. There is nothing that can be said that will help you understand any more than meditating for a little while each day. It is the foundational element of Zen practice. Allow the silence to dissipate the fog of your thoughts. Let your breathing guide you past the chains of language.

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