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Home / Articles / Columnists / Life 101 /  Silence: In Films, Meditation & in your Day
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Tuesday, April 3,2012

Silence: In Films, Meditation & in your Day

By Cary Bayer  


The most creative motion picture that I saw in 2011 was the French film, The Artist, which was shot almost entirely in silence. What a remarkable piece of expressive acting and directing were on display for a bold movie made 84 years after “talkies” were developed.



Earlier this month, my favorite cable channel--Turner Classic Movies—did a short tribute to the greatest silent movie director of all time, the legendary Charlie Chaplin. And so I DVRed a handful of his masterpieces—Modern Times, City Lights, The Gold Rush, and The Kid, among others--to watch for the umpteenth time, and came away amazed, yet again, at what an absolute comic genius he was. What a gift he had for finding humor in everyday things around us. And, once again, I was impressed with how much can be communicated in silence.


All this silence, of course, reminded me of the meditation that I practice and teach, and how silence is at the core of every moment in life, and at the foundation of our minds at the level of Being, at the transcendental level of our minds. As I say in every one of the lectures that I give on the Higher Self Healing Meditation that I developed in 2010, when we don’t tap that inner silence, we start to suffer in a variety of ways—physically, mentally, emotionally, and, of course spiritually.


It reminds me of the wonderful quote from Blaise Pascal, the great 17th century French philosopher and mathematician, who wrote, “All of man’s troubles stem from his inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” When we do tap that silence, however, everything blossoms in our lives— physically, mentally, emotionally and, of course, spiritually--for as the proverb goes, “Angels speak to those who silence their minds long enough to hear.”


There is something so blessed about silence. I recently enjoyed it in abundance on a south Florida meditation retreat that I was on. I used to lead them, having been a teacher of Transcendental Meditation from 1973-2010; this time, however, I was taking one. As calmness drifted ever so quietly over my consciousness like a cumulus cloud drifting lazily across the afternoon sky, I remembered how profound life can be when peace, that simplest state of awareness, can be allowed to simply wake up from its sleep. I remembered a time years ago just days before our nation’s bicentennial, in the Alpine silence of St. Moritz. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, on whose TM-Sidhi training program I was on, told all of us to meditate as long as it was comfortable. Four hours and one mind full of silence later, I emerged from my meditation and from my room. It was day one of three days of silence. Those three days were among the most peaceful days I have ever known.

If you’ve never taken so much as one day in silence, you’ll be astonished at how much energy you waste in talking. That was one of the first insights that I had about the mindless chatter that seemed so foreign in that mindful silence so many moons ago in the Swiss Alps. Stress needs more than management; it needs release. And as I sat timelessly in meditation the other day in south Florida, so many thousands of miles and decades from St. Moritz, I delighted in witnessing the stress dissolving so deeply as the silence intensified.


In his wonderfully lucid and cosmic commentary on the Bhagavad Gita,the textbook of Yoga, Maharishi wrote about how the higher states of enlightenment come about mainly through the transformation of silence. The proverb says that silence is golden; give yourself a chance to experience the truth of this some day when you’re off from work. If you live with someone else or with kids, it’s certainly more challenging, but if you communicate your desire for silence, those around you may respect your wish, and you will see how profound a day in silence can be.


It’s certainly much richer to do at a retreat center like a monastery or an ashram, but you can do it in your own home. If you live alone, set your cell phone to vibrate, and watch a huge rise in the level of your own vibrations. The silence will, indeed, be golden.


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