Many years ago I was working on being less chatty. I had a propensity for invading other peoples boundaries by dominating conversations. I wasn’t very sensitive to others for a whole lot of reasons that my ego could defend and justify. So, in one of my meditations I read about a monk who had the same issue. His solution was to put a few stones in his mouth to remind him of the silence he wanted to keep.
I thought it was a pretty novel idea so the next day I picked up a few well worn stones, washed them, and put them in my mouth. It was a strange sensory experience having three stones in my mouth. When people would ask me a question or expect some kind of comment from my chatty self I would just look at them, grin, nod, and give some kind of kinesthetic body response. I had to change my whole way of being with others.
I only practiced this strange discipline for a day but it began a journey into a greater awareness of just how much control I didn’t have over my unconscious ego self. This awareness led me to a practice called self observation. It was learning to create an inner witness that would simply observe my thoughts, words, and actions without comment or judgement. I discovered that this inner observation changed my behavior.
Imagine having a silent witness observing you all the time without comment or feedback. Do you sense the shift in energy, the greater self awareness, responsibility, and accountability it might bring to you? Imagine the challenge of seeing your ideal self as not so ideal. Imagine seeing yourself as others see you. Imagine being aware of all your unconscious mental and emotional clutter. Imagine the shadow images of yourself.
Through practice we are able to make friends with our functional and dysfunctional selves. We can give witness to the process and learn to find grace in a slower, more silent approach to life. We can become more aware of who we are and who we’re not. We can modulate our ‘crazy behavior” through this self observation, choice-fully bath our words in love, and recognize that a serene silence is difficult to improve upon.
This leads us to a more reflective life where opinions become less important, where we see how much we don’t know and how much we still have to learn. We come to recognize that a vast majority of our thoughts, words, and actions are habitual and unconscious patterns of behavior. We spend more of our days improving our own silence. We become more responsive to other’s needs and less resistant to change.
Eventually, we stop the chatter, the monkey mind, and find the goal of soul which is an inner and outer interconnectivity in love, joy and delight. We get down in new and wonderful ways. We discover our depth, our own soulful presence. We come alive and speak only if it improves upon the silence. Here’s a tool, not a rule. Can you dig it?