The Miracle of Silence
By Janet Bray Attwood

We have all heard the saying, "Well begun is half done!"

On that note, have you thought about how you are going to begin your New Year?

I, like the vast majority of Americans, used to begin my new year with a hangover. I lived for many years near the infamous spot of The Pasadena Rose Parade, and every year I would gather my tribe of friends, we would get a keg, walk down to the parade, and party away. I can't remember one year during that time that I didn't return home without one heck of a celebrated throbbing in my head!

Then, after being in India in 1980 and watching how the Yogi's begin their New Year, I started to think differently about the significance of the words, "New Year." I started to reflect on the importance of the word "New." To me it meant, "beginning again," "starting fresh" and dusting yourself off from the old year, and moving forward with as much clarity and intention as possible into the new. I knew this was why so many of the Yogi's I met drew back from the world completely at this time of year.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi always begins his New Year by going into silence for the first week of the year. After spending some time with him, I decided that I wanted to try doing the same thing. When I told my friends and family that I was going to go into silence for a week, they all looked at me as if I was crazy and then started laughing.

Their reaction was enough to challenge me to do that which I was more than a little freaked out to do!

I decided my first stab at silence would be best practiced in an environment that at least understood what silence was, so I went on a meditation course and it was there, over 15 years ago, that I first went into complete silence, starting from the evening of December 31st to the morning of January 8th.

As I said, I was scared at first to do this. I mean, after all, it's not that I'm known as an "inward stroke kind of girl!" And, it is true that I spend my life making a living talking. So, to abruptly "turn off' the flow of continual communication that seems to flow so effortlessly out of me was absolutely a stretch!

Immediately upon making the commitment that I would go into silence, the "what if's" came flooding in. "What if I find something out about myself that is awful?" What if I find I don't even like myself?" "What if I miss some important call or opportunity?" "What if some dark demons appear out of nowhere to haunt me?" "What if I'm not able to live with my own thoughts?" and worst of all, "What if I'm bored out of my ever lovin' mind!!?"

In spite of all my fears that tried to stop me, I closed my mouth and began.

How was it you ask?

It was like a duck that came to water.

What I realized soon after I stopped talking was that there was this incredible inner silence in me that I was only aware of when I meditated. As the days passed, the fear of not being able to talk flipped and became the fear of having to "talk again." It was so beautiful. I came to see what a powerful way silence was to conserve and draw in new energy, and what a wonderful way to truly experience loving your self.

On this website, www.puresilence.org I found a wonderful explanation of the power and grace of silence that I felt to share….

Pure Silence

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A gentle, loving, inner peace and silence is here and now in this moment. It has always been this way. It is always here. It is right here within you and all around you, a stillness, an apparent void, a seeming nothingness out of which everything arises, exists, and eventually returns.

You know this. You have felt this.

There is nothing more than this.

You are this.

This is truth.

This is not some esoteric spiritual jargon about some new age philosophy or any religion or belief. There is nothing here which is mystical. There are just these words and you and the silence within. This is real, now.

This silence is right here in you, every single moment of your life.

This pure silence contains you, your being-ness. The silence is your very being.

This silence allows the entire universe to be.

All existence, everything that is, all matter and energy, all thought is contained in this silence.

This pure silence is what some have called Truth, Infinity, Reality, Enlightenment, Nothingness, God, Great or Holy Spirit, True Self, I am, Consciousness and Love.

This silence is a mystery beyond mind, beyond what the human brain can fully comprehend. Like a beautiful diamond, we can only see a few facets at a time. This mystery is seemingly far beyond us – our capacity to understand, to know. And yet this is contained within our very selves, and this contains us as well.

The greatest wonder of this is that you and I, above all other life forms on this planet are able to be consciously aware of this reality, now.

Yes, you are aware of this, though perhaps you do not believe this so. Perhaps you have not realized this.

This awareness of ours, this consciousness of being, is the silence itself.

The silence is the very space of being.

There is only this.

We have spent thousands of years denying what is more present to us than our very breath, our very heartbeat.

This silence permeates everything and is the allow-er of everything. The silence allows us to be and to be free.

There is only this.

You are this!

All that you need, all that you seek, all that you hope and long for is contained in this silence.

This website may just help you to know this, to realize this and to live out of this silence.

All you need to do is stop and just be!

There is only this:

Pure Silence

Welcome to you my friend.