Silence and Meditation Practices
Posted on July 3rd, 2018

Dr. Daya Hewapathirane  

Noise can have a pronounced physical effect on our brains resulting in elevated levels of stress hormones. Studies have proven that silence is good for your brain and by maintaining silence, one can feel less stressed, more focused, and more creative. Silence releases stress and tension in the brain and body, while noise bring about stress and tension. The brain can restore its finite cognitive resources in environments with lower levels of sensory input. When the brain is disengaged from external stimuli, one can tap into one’s inner stream of thoughts, emotions, memories, and ideas. Engaging this network helps us make meaning out of our experiences, empathize with others, be more creative and reflect on our own mental and emotional states. Silence and meditation practices help us think deeply and creatively. Research has revealed that two hours of silence daily lead to the development of new cells in the hippocampus, a key brain region associated with learning, memory, and emotions.  During silence, the brain actively internalizes and evaluates information and has the freedom it needs to discover its place in your internal and external world. This default mode of the brain helps you think about profound things in an imaginative way during silence.

Those who meditate on a regular basis, cite meditation’s ability to hone the mind, reduce stress and promote tranquility. Silence helps to enhance these same inner transformations. During silent meditation, one withdraws from the external world, not affected, or bound by thoughts, sensations, and their effects, and reach a state in which one feels at peace. With peace, comes the end to fears and expectations, anxiety and stress, and the ability to see yourself as you truly are. Self-reflection is important for human development and learning. We need moments of silence to reflect on our experiences, to discover who we are as individuals, what kind of relationships we desire, and what we value and believe about life. Tuning out the noisy world helps people to develop the ability to reflect and grow. Experiences alone are not enough. What is critical is an ability to perceive and then weave meaning from the threads of our experiences. Here, silence is of immense significance because it enables one to enjoy the gratification of the learning that emerges from within.

Self understanding at the deeper level, means complete awareness and understanding of one’s inner self”, and realization of the true nature of what one conventionally understands as oneself or self”.  This calls for silent contemplation, sustained effort, and wisdom. It takes practice, perseverance, and patience. It is such a quiet mind that can understand reality and states of mind which it has never experienced before. It is such a healthy mind that can lead one to a deep sense of well-being, serenity and flourishing.  

Dr. Daya Hewapathirane                                                                                                  


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