During a teaching and learning event with Gurumayi in Shree Muktananda Ashram in 2002, I had the opportunity to offer seva as the facilitator. We chanted, meditated, and studied the Siddha Yoga teachings under the direct guidance of our Guru.
After the conclusion of the event, Gurumayi shared with me an observation she had made while I was facilitating: On a few occasions, I had asked the group a question to which there was no immediate response. After one or two seconds, I would fill the silence with a follow-up comment or another question.
Gurumayi’s guidance was: "Be comfortable with the silence."
Then she herself became silent. As I sat quietly with Gurumayi, I understood that the silence during the event had not been the absence of a response; it was the result of the group entering more deeply into contemplating the question. It was a silence filled with inspiration. And yet, in the moment, with hundreds of eyes looking back at me, I had been distinctly uncomfortable with the silence. To me, it had suggested the lack of any response.
Grateful for this new insight, I thanked Gurumayi for her guidance.
Later, reflecting on my darshan with Gurumayi, I intuited that her guidance had planted a seed that would be especially significant for me. I wanted to pursue it further, particularly in my daily practice of meditation.
Over the months and years that followed that darshan with Gurumayi, I became more and more attuned to a subtle dynamic that occurred in the depths of my meditations. At times, I would enter a space deep within myself that resounded with a powerful silence. I noticed that it was precisely at these moments that my meditations would come to an end.
As I reflected on this experience, I realized that it wasn’t “just happening.” When I entered the vast, boundless space within my own being, I was choosing to emerge from the experience because I feared the power of the silence within. I understood that what I needed to do was to follow the guidance that Gurumayi had given me: Be comfortable with the silence.
I discovered that being comfortable with the silence in my meditation means to recognize this silence as a manifestation of my inner Self. Now, when I meditate, I mentally offer my love and respect to the silence, much like offering puja to a deity. I then enter more deeply into its limitless, pulsating, rejuvenating power.
Gurumayi’s direct guidance has revealed new vistas in my inner world. It has also illumined my outer world.
In my profession as a business communication consultant, I often work with professionals who want to connect more effectively with individuals, teams, and audiences. I’ve observed over the years that for many of the people I work with, their ability to connect when they speak or present is impeded by their limited experience in pausing purposefully.
Through contemplating Gurumayi’s guidance, I have come to recognize the value of creating space for silence in speech, and I now encourage others to discover for themselves the power of silence in their communication.
When they do incorporate meaningful pauses in their speaking, they are amazed at the immediate impact this has. They discover that the momentary silence is not the absence of communication—it is a moment that provides their audience with the time and space to activate their own inspiration and creativity.
I am profoundly grateful to Gurumayi. Through following her guidance, I have become more comfortable with silence. I have become more attuned to the benefits of honoring silence in both the inner and outer worlds. As a result, I am able to benefit from the power of silence myself and to encourage others to experience its limitless bounty.