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A Spiritual Exercise from Awakening the Buddhist Heart: Integrating Love, Meaning, and Connection into Every Part of Your Life by Lama Surya Das

"Noble Silence
"Listening takes place not just through the ears, but with all the senses. Sometimes the best way to prepare ourselves to hear in a new and better way is to be still and silent. When we quiet our motor minds — and our motor mouths — we find that we are better able to open our hearts. The ancient practice of Noble Silence helps us begin the process of hearing in a new way; this is a timeless and wise practice that helps us be more sensitive and perceptive.

"Noble Silence traditionally begins with a vow to keep silent for a specific period of time. It can be an hour, a day, a week, or a month. There are practitioners who have kept Noble Silence for years. There is even a practice of lifetime silence in India called 'maun.' The famous master Meher Baba was a mauni baba, a silent holy man. He used a small blackboard to spell out his succinct messages, like 'Don't worry, be happy,' long before the reggae song was written.

"If you want to try a period of Noble Silence, remember that it is a rest for all of the senses. Turn off the radio, the phone, the television. Enjoy a fast from the news. Turn off the thoughts in your head. Stay quiet. Take refuge in the inner calm and peace of the quiet mind. Don't write, don't read, don't surf the Net. Keep still. Listen to the sounds around you. What do you hear? What do you see? Open your eyes, open your ears, open your heart. Think of the ancient Christian exercise. Be still. Listen to the inner voice, and know God. This is how we learn to cultivate higher levels of hearing, perception, and vision.

" 'For someone deeply trapped in a prison of thought, how good it can feel to meet a mind that hears, a heart that reassures. It's as if a listening mind is, in and of itself, an invitation to another mind to listen too. How much it can mean when we accept the invitation and hear the world anew.'
"From How Can I Help by Ram Dass and Paul Gorman."

 


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Awakening the Buddhist Heart
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