There have been many things written about visualization. This is typically a set of strategies focused on intentionally imagining scenarios, achievements, the process of reaching a goal, and or improvements in any area of your life. You can also add the step of imagining the specific emotional responses attached to those things which you are visualizing. I have used this fundamental strategy over the years in different ways, and it has led to results for me, both personally and professionally.
Recently, I have found that there is another step, which can precede or follow the typical visualization. This step is what I call:
Akin to quieting your mind, yet different. This has brought me a more profound sense of calm, and when combined with passion and drive, I have found a new and improved space in which to live, mentally and physically.
It helps to first explore, for yourself, the different kinds of “silence.” What follows is a list and brief description of the kinds of silence which I have experienced. Then I’ll describe how you can embrace each.
The “silence” we can quickly create by turning off devices which create sound. This could include the closing of a window in your car to reduce the amount of sound. Of course, this kind of silence is not complete, and rather a reduction of sound.
This “silence” is quickly created by deciding not to speak as much in any given situation.
This “silence” is a learned ability which can be accomplished by lowering the level of observable energy you normally create.
This “silence” is a learned ability which can be accomplished by quieting your mind and creating an inner sense of calm.
This “silence” may not exist. I am still considering whether it is possible to create a sense of complete stillness, and if so, whether that would be considered as absolute silence.
As we become more and more used to multiple forms of sounds in our environment, we can easily become needy of “sound” as a form of comfort. Yet, is it really comfort? Could it be that so much sound in our environments can instead mute the quality of our daily experience? One example of this which is concrete, and something I’ve been using, is not having any source of sound on while I drive. At first, I had the urge to turn on the radio, bluetooth, etc., and I resisted this urge. I have found that this simple decision to omit any form of spoken word or music while I’m driving has had the following impact on me:
- Calmer mind
- Improved clarity of thought
- Higher performing in the meetings and rehearsals which follow this “silent” drive
- Improved observer of life around me
- Deeper appreciation of beauty surrounding me
- Being reintroduced to my own thoughts
Try this and see what happens!
I have also been practicing speaking less, when it is possible. For example, I was recently working with a group of preschool children. I ask them lots of questions, and in the case of one 4 year old, who had put her hand up, I was met with a very shy response where this child said nothing at first. Instead of speaking, I responded in kind, with a facial gesture of “Curious.” I did not speak, yet did react. Eventually this child responded. It was a golden moment. With a lack of words, I was able to create an invitation to respond. With adults, I have tried a similar approach. In small groups and one on one meetings, I have been speaking less and listening more. This “functional silence” has actually created more meaningful conversation, because I have taken the time to be more present in a “silent” way.
I encourage you to make the attempt at speaking less. I know what the results have been for me and I hope you experience a similar feeling of improved connection with others.
I’ve been practicing this for some years. Typically, what is looks like is me slowing down my breath, and slowing down my movement. In public it is subtle. In private, such as when I practice Yoga, it is more noticeable.
I encourage you to read my blog on how to inspire yourself which includes a section on the techniques of breathing I use. This one thing, slowing down your heart rate, will be another piece of the puzzle in your journey as you visualize and manifest success in different ways.
I greatly enjoy and feel soothed by creating a sense of inner calm. All the previous types of silence enhance your ability to create this type of “silence.” Specifically, I like to meditate, which I enjoy doing both in quiet spaces, AND in loud public spaces, and even in my car. While you can close your eyes when you meditate (not while you’re driving!), I also enjoy meditating with my eyes open. I rotate between different goals while meditating, including the following:
- Clearing my mind completely
- Leaving only one thought in my mind at a time
- Becoming the movement of natural objects I see (like a branch of a tree moving in the wind)
- Leaving only one emotion in my mind at a time (such as focusing on a gratefulness)
Certainly, for someone who is deeply tied to sound, and /or visual stimulus, the idea of clearing your mind can be both new and uncomfortable. It is important to try this to remind yourself what is like to be with your own self.
I’m not sure this exists. Even in the outer reaches of space, isn’t there sound being made by the rotation of celestial objects or even the moving of matter or dark matter itself? What I am certain of is this, and this is something I’ve trying and enjoying:
We can all improve in how little we can hear
What do I mean by this? I mean if you go to a park and close your eyes, ask yourself what you hear. At first you might hear a dog barking and children playing. Then I would ask that you listen for sounds which are quieter than the dogs and children. You might then notice the sound of crickets. I would then say, listen again for sounds quieter than the crickets. You might then notice the sound of a slight breeze gently moving your shirt.
- What is the quietest amount of sound we can actually hear?
More interesting to me is…
- What is the quietest amount of sound we can actually sense?
What are we capable of? I have found that I am discovering more of myself and my potential in “silent” moments.
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