Ready to dive into step 3 of the The Declutter Code? (Have you read and practiced step 2? If not, do that first. There’s a delicate order to the Code, especially if this is the first time you’re practicing it.)

At this point in the Code, we’ve slowed and stilled mind and body, and we’ve started incorporating meditation into our mornings. Now, we can go even deeper within.

Step 3: Silence

Silence is the absence of sound. It is the hushing of chatter and commotion, of song and speech. It’s the muting of noise. It’s the quieting of the mind.

Silence allows us to turn our focus inward. When we settle our surroundings, our bodies, then minds, our inner ears, aren’t as distracted. We can listen from within and hear our inner dialogue. Our thoughts don’t have to compete with much else to be heard.

The more we soften our thoughts, give in to the silence and derive comfort from its noiselessness, we will experience a growth in awareness and an increased ease to decluttering.

How It Clears Clutter

Silencing is decluttering.

Silence is choosing what we listen to. We don’t have to listen to anything we don’t want to. By actively listening only to what we choose, we can monitor the intake of information. We can choose to listen to the silence.

In silence, bodily senses sharpen. We can attend to ourselves. Hearing is turned inward to hear our inner monologue, dialogue, and whatever else floats around in there.

How we talk to ourselves and what we say determine our behavior. Like how without alcohol, the liver is free to detox and rest. We do the same type of cleansing when we stop the senses from overactivity and free the mind to attend to itself, listen to itself, cleanse itself.

Too rarely do we allow for this silence to notice how loud our inner chatter is and what it’s saying. We’re too busy filling our time with distracting noise.

Silence is healing for the mind because we’re pausing the media and the conversations. When we’re not hearing from everything going on outside, we can begin to turn our attention to the noise coming from inside.

It may be difficult to silence the mind completely and, actually, I don’t know anyone who can. But the point is to near silence. How quiet can you get? Ultimately, we strive to balance soundlessness with sound. While it might not always seem doable, sometimes just the removal of outside chatter can help curb the overwhelming inside chatter.

What This Feels Like

Silence feels like inviting in noiselessness, inside and outside. It feels like loosening the ties that keep us tethered to sound—the need to talk and hear. The need to hear what might make us feel better, the need to say what others want to hear.

As we move through Step 3, we feel the mutiny of thought already slowing and stilling. By now, silence is a welcomed state. Joining slowness and stillness with silence feels like a break from the chaos. Sometimes, the cure to our mental overwhelm lies in spending a few moments in these first three steps.

Silence is feeling content in your own skin, happy to be you in your own company.

A Tool for Silencing: Breath

Your breath is the perfect tool for silence. It’s always there, whether you’re aware of it or not. It sustains you. It comforts you. It calms you.

We can’t see breath, most times don’t even feel it if we’re in our normal trance of everyday life, but we keep on breathing instinctually. To actually notice and feel breath going in and out of your lungs, filling you, nourishing you, energizing you, knowing it’s what keeps you alive, that’s to be present. That’s us witnessing an everyday miracle, our breath working on our behalf.

Every cell in our bodies uses oxygen to live. The breath is very cleansing. As we inhale we take in clean, fresh oxygen. Taking a moment to breathe deeply to calm ourselves, to rejuvenate ourselves. To clear out all the gunk and blockages that keep us from being fully present in this moment.

We breathe and we untie stomach knots, loosen strongholds and soften tension. Breath, since we rarely think about it, prevent it from coming, or make a big deal about it, represents flow. Breathing is going with the flow.

I love sitting silently with my breath and practicing Pranayama, which is the conscious controlling of inhalations and exhalations. (It’s not recommended to do this without a coach as it can be dangerous.) Whenever I feel anxious, I’ll close my eyes and take three big, deep, lung-filling breaths. I find that it regulates my heart rate, it settles my erratic thoughts and, most importantly, it centers my attention toward the ease of the moment. I’m reminded not to complicate things.

Practice Silencing Today

Silence all other noise to just tune into the sound of the breath. Turn it off, lower the volume, do whatever it takes to bring about more silence around you.

For one minute before you go to bed this week, make it a point to listen for your breath amidst all other sounds. As you do this, alternate between breathing out of your nose and then out of your mouth. Notice it move your belly. Feel it exit your nose. Play with the texture of it. Play with the volume of it.

And when those outside noises arise, airplanes flying, people talking, sirens blaring, toys squeaking, seek out the sound of your barely audible breath. Return to it.

Leave a comment below on your experience with using the breath to find silence. What does it feel like for you?

Excerpt taken from “The Declutter Code: 10 Simple Steps to Clarity.”

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