Everyone can relate to the term “burnout.” Whether you are completely drained from a stressful, monotonous job or the repetitious, mundane drudgery of everyday life – burnout is that defeated, fatigued state where you just don’t want to do anything more and can’t physically or mentally continue as is. Something has to change, and, often, that something has to be you.
Dr. Krishna Bhatta, author of Journey From Life to Life, explains that burnout exists due to a slow, steady energy loss, day in and day out. It’s a gradual process, but it’s too late when it reaches its pinnacle – or is it?
Dr. Bhatta embraces the practice of intermittent silence to replenish lost energy and to teach you to build a shield against future episodes of burnout. He advocates that 10 minutes a day is all it takes to retain your precious strength and gain a whole new outlook on life.
Overcoming the Awkward Silence.
The act of being silent is not natural for humans. Therefore, the practice of intermittent silence will not feel natural at first, either. We are taught to talk, and we are encouraged to communicate. Remaining silent is awkward and somewhat unnerving. But Dr. Bhatta says this is why we should pursue its strength. Think about the popular term “awkward silence.” It’s so relatable. When given a space filled with silence, our human nature is to fill that silence with words. However, exhibit some patience and allow yourself to accept the adage, “silence is golden.” This accomplishment can be a first step to conserving energy and harnessing the power of silence.
Time and Place for Intermittent Silence.
Dr. Bhatta explains that you can practice intermittent silence at any time, but the most obvious time is when you first wake up. The result of your 10 minutes of silence is a refreshed spirit and mind. Dr. Bhatta says that practicing in times of transition – such as on the bus or waiting in the airport – is also helpful. “Even when life gets busy, we can find pockets of time to focus on our inner journey. In fact, the busy times are the times when we should try to find a moment for ourselves,” explains Dr. Bhatta.
How does one go about engaging in intermittent silence? It’s choosing to sit silently with your eyes closed, instead of checking your phone or making a quick phone call. It’s dedicating 10 minutes to yourself to tighten the handle on the drippy faucet that slowly leaks your energy. During those 10 minutes, try the following:
- Close your mouth.
- Close your eyes.
- Listen to your thoughts.
By exhibiting these practices, you will stop expending energy through your eyes and mouth and be able to look inwards, without any disturbances. Once you get over the awkward silence and learn to accept it, rather than resist it, you can begin to feel growth in the silence and the relaxing effects it brings to your body and mind.
Dr. Bhatta makes an interesting analogy when trying to express the value of silence: “As humans, we try to control overeating because we know it is bad for us. Likewise, we try to control overspending to avoid its devastating effects. We should also learn to avoid over-minding to prevent burnout and excessive energy loss.” And this comparison makes perfect sense. Giving our mind a rest through silence – even just 10 minutes a day – can be just as crucial for your health and peace of mind as limiting any other decadent indulgence. Moderation is key.
Dr. Bhatta explains that intermittent silence is the doorway to more profound meditations. Once you have mastered the art of silence, it can work for you in other ways, such as learning to listen – really listen – and watch – in silence.
Probably the most useful skill you can eventually learn from intermittent silence is how to watch your emotional storm to determine its origin. Dr. Bhatta explains that we can try to be angry or sad, but at the same time, we can dismiss those false emotions when we can recognize when they are not genuine. However, when real anger or sadness strikes us, it usually arrives unannounced and unexpectedly. Practice with silence teaches us to follow the path back to the origin of the anger. In this way, we become in-tune with our emotions.
Dr. Bhatta says practicing intermittent silence 10 minutes per day will make you more in-tune with yourself and the world around you and conserve your energy. He explains that your outlook on the world will take on a different view in just three months, and you will become acquainted with an all-new person within. It is likely your relationships will benefit, as well, and your ability to handle stress will improve.
Create Your Little Corner of Peace
Dr. Bhatta’s book Journey From Life to Life thoroughly explains the concepts and process of intermittent silence and its benefits. In a world that bombards us with noise, why not learn to create your own little corner of peace?