The idea of escaping the noise we’re surrounded by in our everyday life sounds like a dream. But achieving complete silence, while more convenient and beneficial for meditation, isn’t always possible.
So if you’re one of those that don’t have that luxury, worry not, because you can still get a lot from the practice.
We’ll even explore some of the benefits of not meditating in silence, as well as the benefits of meditating in a quiet environment.
Keep in mind with meditation, it will take some tweaking till you find something that works for you, you may be one of those that thrive in a quiet environment and can’t stand the thought of noise, or it may be the opposite for you.
However, experiencing the opposite ends of the spectrum trains your mind to remain calm no matter what situation you’re put in. Growth generally doesn’t come from staying in a comfortable spot, even if the idea sounds nice.
Let’s start with the reasons as to why and the key benefits of meditating in silence is how you have an easier time entering a relaxed state and quieting your mind.
With fewer things for the mind to turn to, it’s more likely to direct the attention inwards, where we’re able to learn more about ourselves.
When doing meditation in conjunction with silence, It allows you to take a step back and experience something different if you’re used to being exposed to noise in your everyday life.
Lots of noises make it easier for us to be stressed as it’s like trying to juggle several balls at once and your mind has a million different places to go, rather than sitting down quietly.
Getting To Know Yourself
The idea that happiness comes from within may seem familiar to you, but this becomes more notable when you can cultivate that happiness in peace, which usually comes from silence.
Silence gives you a comfortable environment where you can be with your true self and see yourself for who you are.
When you connect with yourself, you’re learning to manage a part of yourself that was, to a certain degree, out of your control before.
This can later be reflected in your daily life outside of meditation as not being reactive to things that would’ve otherwise made you feel negative about something.
Becoming Less Reactive
With what I just said, some may think we become unscrupulous with meditation, and while meditation can make you less emotional, it’s for good reasons.
You learn to value your time more, and you start loving yourself more, which translates to you allocating your time to things that are truly meaningful to you by removing all the clutter that was otherwise present, as a result of a stressful day-to-day.
Short Meditations But Long Vacations For The Mind
Silence is a craving for many people, but fortunately, those who have the luxury to meditate in silence, which a lot of people do as meditation can literally be done before you sleep.
Meditation extends this silence and a mere 20-minute meditation session, if you do things right, can make you feel as if you’ve just gotten back from a vacation by the time you’re done. However, this is more commonly seen in people that use meditation consistently.
Another benefit of silent meditation is that you develop new ideas. When you’re no longer held back by the clutter and noise of day-to-day life, you allow yourself to develop, much like a programmer would develop software, ideas that you didn’t know you come up with.
These new ideas can benefit you in the logical sense and the creative sense. One would think that constantly thinking about a problem gives us more options to solve it, but it’s the opposite.
At times, we need to take a step back to improve our strategy and look at things from an outside perspective. The more our angles for tackling a problem we have, the more we can find a balanced sweet spot between creativity and logic.
With silence, you may give birth to a great idea you’ve never thought of before. Just look at where a sizable amount of your ideas came from, and add focus into the equation, something you get from meditation, to begin with.
Reasons To Not Meditate In Silence
It’s difficult to be in complete silence when meditating, even if we try. There can be a loud car outside or a dog barking, or someone dropping something that makes a loud noise.
From the perspective of making meditation something where you expand your comfort zone, it makes sense at times to choose to not meditate in silence.
Although the most efficient meditations tend to be done in silence, you don’t have to do it in complete silence. We’ll take a look at some reasons why you may want to consider meditating despite noise being present at a time.
Training Your Mind To Focus
While the idea of meditating with noise would seem impossible for a novice, training your mind to focus in an already noisy environment is a superpower.
As it shows you have control of parts of yourself and can choose where you direct your attention to.
Usually, it’s our minds that decide where our attention goes, and that comes as a result of living like robots and our day-to-day on autopilot. But we’re just existing then, rather than living life.
However, if you’re able to focus on one thing, despite noise being present, meditation becomes easier for you, as your mind tends to wander when meditating.
Sometimes, the reason it wonders is because of a noisy environment, which in turn, makes it harder to be present, but on the contrary, it can also be because of the silence.
While I’ve said that the mind has fewer things to run to and is more likely to turn its attention inwards, this isn’t always the case for everyone. As with a lot of freedom, comes a lot of responsibility.
Your mind may crave that noise, even if that noise is something you want to get away from on a conscious level.
This could be because noise is what your mind is used to, and the mind can’t bear to be alone with itself, even if it results in its growth, but just like with growing biceps, it takes some sort of resistance training. In this case, with meditation, it takes some discomfort, which would be the equivalent of such resistance training.
To get to the stage where your mind can stay still and unbothered by the noise, you may need silence, to begin with.
On the contrary, if your mind wanders more because of silence and can’t bear being with itself, deliberately creating noise by humming or repeating a mantra is a great alternative to just trying to focus on your breath.
That way, your mind has something deliberate to engage in, rather than giving it the choice of going in any direction. After all, the mind isn’t always the best at regulating itself.
Observation Over Reaction
You won’t always have the chance to treat yourself with silence. So meditating with noise present prepares you for that scenario, and by default, meditating in complete silence later should be easier, as meditating with noise present adds a level of difficulty to the meditation.
With noise present, you’ll be testing your tolerance to some degree, and if you’re one of those that easily get annoyed by loud noise, this is an opportunity to, rather than engaging and feeling the emotion you’re feeling in question, take, even just a minute, to analyze what you’re feeling.
It’s a way to practice a sort of micro-meditation where you practice observation on the present, even if the present is unpleasant as a result of noise. You simply let that noise coexist with the meditation, much like you let unpleasant thoughts coexist with meditation.
The purpose is to become non-reactive, as the non-reaction is liberating. If an environment can get a reaction over you, it’s winning over you. However, if you’re able to remain intact, despite your environment, you’d be training the mental part of meditation.
Combining The Two
If you have the option to meditate in silence, choose silence as it will make the meditation easier. At least, if you’re starting out.
But if you want to experience something bigger with meditation where you’re not just exposed to the vocational parts of meditation and you want to be able to meditate no matter which situation you’re put in, meditating without silence may be an option for you.
However, you may be one of those that can keep your focus on your breath or anything else in the present while achieving a deep sense of peace, at which point, I would consider that you have mastered meditation, and as a byproduct, you’ve mastered your attention.
One experiment you could do is to combine silence meditation and noisy meditation and after some time, analyze how you feel about them. Then, based on that, make a decision on which meditation you choose to pursue long-term.
When we think of meditation, we don’t tend to think of doing it while noise is present, but some can meditate in ways others wouldn’t know they are meditating, to begin with.
But they’re still able to reach that same state of mind, so it would technically qualify as meditation, given how they have reached a meditative state in their day-to-day without deliberately trying to meditate, something that comes from learning to live in the present moment.