To be scared of silence.

Think about it. To be scared of silence. How absurd an idea: to be scared of quite literally nothing. Not a little fear either. To be scared, to a pathological extent, of nothing. To be scared of an absence of noise, of stimulation.

What does this mean? Why would someone be scared of nothing?

The Voices In The Head

People who find themselves uncomfortable in silence are often uncomfortable with the thoughts that will crop up if they aren't distracting themselves. They are, in essence, afraid of themselves: their mind, their brain, you could even call them the voices in their head.

What will happen when we die? Do I really love my spouse? Am I happy? Why do I get up in the morning? How do I really feel about my job? How do I really feel about my life? Do I regret having kids? Am I ashamed of feelings I have? Why am I ashamed of feelings I have? Am I saving enough money? Why do I feel this way?

These are hard questions but a huge portion of the population is genuinely concerned with some of them whether they admit it or not. People willing to admit it are at least on the way to dealing with these concerns. Those unwilling to admit it?

That's repression.

What's So Bad About Repression?

Ignorance is bliss, right? Enforced ignorance is bliss? Not thinking about anything you don't have to is bliss, right?

In some cases, sure. There's no sense in obsessing over something you cannot control. But there is sense in evaluating the question of what you can do to control these things that affect your life. The knowledge that things are in as much control as they can be is comforting when those troublesome thoughts crop up.

If you can't handle these kinds of thoughts, you will never have a successful meditation practice.

So How Do I handle These Troublesome Thoughts?

Processing these troublesome thoughts is a three step process.

First, do a free write of every recurring concern or task in your life. This should take somewhere between a half hour and a day. If there's a lot there, keep adding on over time. Don't erase or correct. Get it all out and date each entry. The mind needs to begin to organize before anxiety can be reduced.

Second, once you have a decent list, you need to make a next action for beginning steps to deal with each problem. Make this as specific as possible. If this is a financial concern, then this means "get out a pad of paper and a pen, your financial information, and go to the computer to find a financial professional or do research." If this is a concern about something as abstract as death, this might mean "go to my spiritual leader to discuss this issue" or "go to computer and research philosophy about this online" or "discuss this with a sympathetic friend or loved one." As specific as possible. This, again, will take a long time, but it's necessary.

Third, when you are actually sitting, and these thoughts crop up, do your best to have a "big ocean" mind. What does this mean?

Think of the mind as a pond. Each thought is like a stone cast into the pond. It makes ripples and those ripples eventually fade away.

Now, each stone is going to make more substantial ripples in a smaller body of water than they will in something as vast as the ocean.

The key to not letting a thought make a big ripple is really not letting it have more ripples. When an uncomfortable thought comes into your mind, let it stay there and leave it be. Just don't let a new thought continue on that line. Try not to let it turn. Leave it to to coast to a stop.

Go out, be mindful, and enjoy the silence.

Author's Bio: 

Brian Miles blogs about mindfulness and meditation at his blog,