As babies, our minds cannot interpret the world. We do not yet know that there are three dimensions, or that things we can’t see still exist. Babies can’t even recognize themselves in a mirror until we teach them to.
But over time, word by word, concept by concept, we’ve refined our perspective on the world. Expertise is when someone has focused much of their life on comprehending just one aspect of reality from only a single perspective.
Almost everything in our lives is made of words. We produce these words with our imaginations. This obviously means that we can also not use our imaginations in that way.
Much like ‘waiting’ is something we can actually do, being ‘quiet inside’ is also a verb.
Right now, most people’s egos have courses of thought that they commonly think. Any time we repeat anything, our brain will tune itself to get better at that thing. Most people experience enormous anxiety due to the intensity of the self-talk in their heads. In a weird way, that’s a success story.
The reason people get anxiety is because they have practiced the act of producing those biochemical reactions within their bodies. By thinking certain rapid spins of thought, people wind themselves up into behaviours.
Their reactions can be anger, fear, tense muscles, bad behaviour, a desire to medicate etc.
People got good at those thoughts and reactions by sliding into doing it unconsciously. If we want to stop that, then we have to intentionally do something else with our mind and then practice that. In this case, we want to practice a form of silence.
This ‘silence’ can have a consistent form, but it must be one steady focus. The most important part about it is that our mind is not moving around. Whatever it’s on, it just stays on that thing in the simplest terms.
Most people imagine a tone –a sound. Often like the ones we associate with chanting monks. Regardless of what we each use, each time we ‘go there’ with our minds, we are working to build a temple within our minds. Our Temple of Silence.
Just as many people currently and frequently visit anxiety within their minds on a regular basis; we can intentionally teach ourselves to go to our Temple of Silence instead. But to go there and feel safe, we need our temple to be resilient.
For any temple to have thick walls, it must be built from daily practice. So if we haven’t done this already, let us all begin today. When life feels stressful, when we can feel our bodies carrying stress where our bodies carry it, let’s react by starting our temple.
Let us make this a daily ritual. We can reinforce it in lineups. We can reinforce it in traffic. We can reinforce it during brief moments in the day. But if we want to have a Temple of Silence within our minds, it’s up to us to build it.
Visit your temple at least five times per day. Start today. It only takes a month and a half to build one. Protect yourself from suffering.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.