A Vow of Silence

Silence is golden. Have you ever heard that phrase before? I believe it is a phrase that is mostly used in Eastern cultures, where in the Western Hemisphere, we are more inclined to think that noise is golden. I have attempted, many times, to take a vow of silence, but if you alert someone that you are taking a vow of silence for a day, a week, or even a month/year, then they will invariably do anything they can to break it, by asking you direct questions, bothering you until you can’t take it anymore, or a variety of other distractions. Taking a vow of silence, even if for just one day, can give you an insight of how much energy we waste on unnecessary speech. All the small talk and boring tirades about how miserable your life is take a backseat to your modesty and your ego nearly melts away. People don’t really get a feel for what is going on inside your head, even though body language speaks volumes about your mood.

I have gone without talking for hours on end, but something or someone always breaks my concentration in not talking. Talking is the primary way in which we communicate with other people. But everybody needs a break from constantly stressing that vocal chord until it gets hoarse with strain. It is more of a spiritual practice than a physcial one, however. I find it allows you to gain peace with your mind, as it is the only thing you have left to communicate to yourself.

I don’t attempt these vows with any sort of external approval from anyone. It is not what I seek. I attempt to do this for my own peace of mind, reflection, and awakening to how much I talk when I really don’t have anything meaningful to say. I hate it when people talk because they feel uncomfortable with silence. There’s always got to be something to fill the void. Why? Why can’t we just allow a little bit of silence into our lives? Just enough to gain perspective on the rest of our life.

Delve into the mind for a change, instead of delving in external circumstances. Allow yourself to be. Don’t place any expectations on a vow of silence because the experience you have will be worth it. As I’ve said, although I have not been able to do it for more than a day due to many distractions, I’ve done it for over six hours at a time and feel totally relaxed and energized at the same time. Quieting down quiets the mind.

I cannot forsee myself ever taking a very long vow of silence, for years or decades. This is unless I go into the woods somewhere for years and don’t come into contact with another human being, that is. If I were to go away for awhile, to the mountains or the forests, I could definitely go for a long, extended period of time. But in today’s terrible society, it is nearly an impossibility, unless I carried a dry erase board around my neck at all times. Or maybe a tape recording of sayings I believe will come up if I need them.

I try certain experiments involving nonverbal communication and find that it is more difficult to get the primary point across so the other party can understand. Sometimes it’s successful, like a wave or a smile, but other times, like explaining the theory of relativity, you may need some sort of visual aid, or some sort of writing to get the message through.

I find that the less I talk, the more I listen. This may seem obvious, but it also seems like people will talk to you more because they are desperately looking for something to fill the void of silence. If they held the belief that silence was golden, then they would also be silent and it would be a much less noisy world. Just now, I heard a child screaming from outside my window. It’s sort of ironic because I never har that sort of thing around here at this hour. Maybe it always occurs, but due to my writing this article as well as listening more, I am more in tune to hearing such things.

This brings me to arguments. I hate how some people think that if they state their point in a loud, rambunctious manner, showing anger and lack of command for the volume of their voice, that their point is more valid than someone who modestly says what is on their minds in a deadpan way of speaking. I don’t like it when things like that happen because the louder person will often interrupt the point of the quieter person by dismissing it completely. They don’t even take time to listen to the other’s point of view. This is key. When taking a vow of silence, you are more susceptible to hearing others’ points of view about whatever. This allows you to fully take in what the other person is saying and then question whether or not it is valid.

I’ll never forget my fourth grade teacher whose idea of “holding the spoon” forever changed my concept of the way arguments should be settled. She took out a wooden spoon and she allowed the person to talk who was holding the spoon. The other person was not allowed to talk until they were given the spoon. So this sort of thinking gave each person an uninterrupted time to give their point, and then have an equal amount of time to listen to the other person’s point. Very balanced and fair.

So through all of this, I hope you make it a priority in life to listen more and talk less. I find it to be very enlightening, as many people have great bits of wisdom to share with you. Nobody knows everything and it’s always good to get some new information in your head. So allow others to speak first, and then offer your point of view and see how they collaborate. You might be surprised.

So my new vow of silence will be modified. Don’t speak while others are speaking, and don’t let my ego get too centered in an argument that doesn’t really affect me that much. Also, to allow silence to come back into my life. Thank you.

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12 Responses to A Vow of Silence

  1. Stormy says:

    Doing a vow of silence is something I have wanted to do for a while. So starting at the stroke of midnight, January 1st, 2007 I’m finally going to. It will be for one year. My jobs, school and friends, omit those few smart asses, are all being incredibly supportive of what I’m trying to do. However there are several people out there that don’t understand, they don’t even try. So I look at them and say ‘look for me the way you would if you were blind. Don’t be so resistant.’ Wish me luck my friend.

    -Stormy

  2. Liara Covert says:

    When you stop speaking, even for a short time, your other senses become magnified. You may finally hear your inner voice where you only used to listen to sounds nearby. You may begin to observe depth where you only glanced at the surface before. I agree with you that listening more and speaking less can be very enlightening. You will grasp ideas and understanding you previously missed and may even begin to explore the whoel concept of inner peace. When you stop thinking you know, and realize much remains that you don’t know, then silence can open you up to new kinds of learning.

  3. Florian says:

    Hi,
    I found your blog via google by accident and have to admit that youve a really interesting blog ๐Ÿ™‚
    Just saved your feed in my reader, have a nice day ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Chris says:

    Hi. I came across this while searching google just for interest-sake.

    I’m 17, and I’ve currently just finished a 1-month vow of silence. It’s a great way for realizing that your words hold more weight when you use them only when required than it is blurting anything out anytime you see the opportunity. And to be entirely honest, after the first two weeks, you could go on for eternity. However, the first few days are complete hell. It takes great willpower to not break under the jokes, the mild insults, the constant bugging questions, etc.

    It does grant insight to yourself, it makes for a great experience in the end, and ultimately a great feeling of accomplishment.

    I’m proud of myself for proving it to my peers, myself, and just knowing that I can accomplish something that most don’t. In the end, it was never for any other reason than to just see if I could do it.

  5. Thao says:

    I found your blog doing a google search, as I am about to take a vow of silence. Aside from my morning talk with my cat, a phone call, and a hello to my dad, I am going to continue the rest of th e day in silence.

    Just wanted to say hi, is all =)

  6. Zacks angel says:

    my fiance mite be going to jail or staying in peace river which is where he is right now he got baker acted its a mental institution …

    i believe i am his and no 1 else’s. if he doesnt get out with in the next week i want to take a vow of silence until the day hes free because im his and i want him to know that ill always be there for him and i wont be happy until were together. He owns me. Therefor he owns my voice and its his to hear and no one else’s.

  7. Ryan R says:

    I find this really interesting. I’m actually 17 also, like one of the previous responses/responders, and am currently in the process of taking/reading myself for a Vow of Silence. The reasons being mostly spiritual, and religous (buddhism). Actually I also plan on taking a one-month vow also (Quite coincidential). I have already taken shorter vows (one and three-day vows) but really want to test my self-discipline, my urge for enlightenment on one level or another, and to better myself in everyday life. Mainly I came here to ready myself and fully think of other reasons i can do this, and perhaps lengthening my vow, and to also assure myself that I am not alone in these ideas. I thank everyone for the input, and to re-assure myself in doing this. Wish me luck.

  8. julie says:

    as a mother of 4 i am absolutely sick of listening to the sound of my voice.

    i am constantly directing, correcting, disciplining, complaining, and yelling over the kids’ screaming to gets their attention. in a nutshell, i can’t stand myself anymore.

    the bible says if something causes you to sin, you should “cut if off.” so i “cut it off.” i simply stopped speaking. wow! amazing how simple that was.

    silence is golden. i feel sane again. and the kids are shocked. a couple of them are responding by being quiet as well. think i’m on to something……

  9. cj of AZ says:

    In hindsight, I am not very pleased with some of the stupid and hurtful things that come out of my mouth. I too would like to take a short term vow of silence. I think I will start with just a few (maybe 6) hours or so. I’m sure my husband will appreciate it. I also really like the idea of “who is holding the spoon?”. When I start talking again – I may try to get my husband to try that one. Good luck to all of you!

  10. Casey says:

    hello. i am 17 as well (arent coincidences nice?) i too have decided to take a short vow of silence. my goal is a month. i want to do it to help me reflect upon my words before i speak, worry less about what i think i have to say and more on listening in general.
    so much of what i say is useless or to fill the space. it becomes distracting and annoying even to me. i start tomorrow. your blog kinda helps me to understand that i can do this with just a little discipline.
    fingers crossed! and good luck to everyone else as well.

  11. Kiki says:

    Hey,

    I’m 14, and I’m taking a vow of silence for my mother who passed 12 years ago. I’m doin’ this now ’cause I think that I am at that age where I can handle it. It’s going to be from the 20th of May (My birthday.) ’till the 26th of August (My mum’s birthday.)

    I’m going to try and make this a tradition, I’d give anything to have her back.

    Hoping and lovin’ I hope everyone else has done it too. (:

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