Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
Welcome home! Please contact lincoln@newbuddhist.com if you have any difficulty logging in or using the site. New registrations must be manually approved which may take up to 48 hours. Can't log in? Try clearing your browser's cookies.

Vow of Silence

CoryCory Tennessee Veteran
I say a lot of things that I don't mean, because I tend to not think before I speak. I was just thinking take a few weeks or a month in silence just to get my mind back in order. I feel like it would be a good experience if I can pull it off, because I am a chatter box, and any opportunity to slow down and observe life a little bit more, is good to me. Any thoughts, suggestions, tips, ideas?

Comments

  • How would you do it with work and family obligations?
  • Wow. That will be quite a task. Personally, I think it's a neat experiment. But if you could- please explain how you plan to deal with family, work or school, or other (verbal) interactions most of us can't seem to avoid on a daily basis. I'm intrigued.

    I can go a long time each day not saying a single word aloud. But I'm usually busy communicating with my fingers at the same time.
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    A girl who used to be on here did it for a weekend. I don't believe she works but is married and she found it quite interesting. They did a lot of planning ahead for meals and to figure how they would communicate so their lives didn't go crazy. But it worked out well and she enjoyed it. Then again, it was only a few days. I will see if I can find the thread.
    oceancaldera207
  • Straight_ManStraight_Man Gentle Man Veteran
    I think a pause-before-speaking vow might be more practical than a silence vow, especially for as long as you propose. Best of Luck....
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    http://newbuddhist.com/discussion/16051/when-monks-take-a-vow-of-silence-for-a-week-or-two-do-they-communicate-via-notes#latest

    If you read the whole thing, she talks about her motives, how she managed things and the outcome.
    MaryAnne
  • karasti said:

    A girl who used to be on here did it for a weekend. I don't believe she works but is married and she found it quite interesting. They did a lot of planning ahead for meals and to figure how they would communicate so their lives didn't go crazy. But it worked out well and she enjoyed it. Then again, it was only a few days. I will see if I can find the thread.

    I hadn't thought about it in the context of a one on one relationship..! That's really neat if she could do it... I think after an hour of that my ex sig other would have run out in tears and peeled out on her motorcycle. I'm pretty comfortable with silence, but most of my friends definitely aren't!

  • CoryCory Tennessee Veteran
    @oceancaldera207 @MaryAnne I don't have to talk to teachers much at all, my communication problem primarily lies with peers. In fact, I might not take a full vow of silence, just refrain from talking unless it is important. I just put myself deeper into a rut every time I talk. @Straight_Man I have tried that, and by the time I come up with a proper response, I am ridiculed for taking too long to respond.
  • MaryAnneMaryAnne Veteran
    edited September 2013

    @karasti-


    *sigh* I miss Rebecca. and her blog about her 3 days of silence has been deleted. :(
  • Cory said:

    @oceancaldera207 @MaryAnne I don't have to talk to teachers much at all, my communication problem primarily lies with peers. In fact, I might not take a full vow of silence, just refrain from talking unless it is important. I just put myself deeper into a rut every time I talk. @Straight_Man I have tried that, and by the time I come up with a proper response, I am ridiculed for taking too long to respond.

    Or you could explain to the people around you (ahead of time) that you will be practicing "a day of silence" on such-and-such a day... Maybe even make it a one day a week thing for a while. Like every Wednesday and see how it goes from there. :)

    I would need my husband to run interference for me, because if my mom or one of my brothers called my house and then my cell and I didn't answer.... OMB, they'd think I'd been kidnapped or was laying in a pool of blood on the kitchen floor!
    I would Have To tell them ahead of time to keep them from panicking! LOL
    karmablues
  • Straight_ManStraight_Man Gentle Man Veteran
    Well, I used to be a chatterbox. I started thinking out what I wanted to say. It took LOTS of practice. BUT, after years of honing my pre-talking thinking, I got it about down so that I can be accepted and am seen as a thoughtful person. But when I say lots of practice I mean decades of practice.

    I would say refrain from talking if the talk will be unimportant is part of the deal, yes. I had to learn to talk LESS, not none at all.
    Vastmind
  • I've found that there's a way to say things in such a way that it sort of shortens conversations, so that you have to say very little... But its kind of tricky and takes practice. Some of my colleagues are experts at it!
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    Actually, I would recommend against a vow of silence. When you have a weakness, you need to strengthen the weak area. I think what you should do is some focused thinking about the issue...pause...think...speak. As you strengthen that talent, it will become second nature.

    When I became a school administrator, I learned pretty quickly that it was not always necessary for me to talk, but it was always necessary for me to listen.
    lobsterkarmabluesTheEccentricericcris10sen
  • Ha, see, I'm one of those real silent types. I don't say anything unless it needs to be said. A vow of silence would just give me an excuse I suppose. If you want to, go for it OP. but it would cause some problems in your day to day life.

    Might I suggest an alternative? consciously think out each word before you say it. Put together the sentence in your head first. It may make you seem a tidbit "slow" to others. But it'l eliminate your problem of saying things you don't mean.
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    Someone posted the 3 questions to ask yourself once, and I found that quite helpful in helping to tame my chatterbox self.
    1. Does it need to be said?
    2. Does it need to be said now?
    3. Does it need to be said by me?

    Most of the time, what we say doesn't need to be said. And once you get in the habit of that, you find that when you do speak, people listen to you much better. When you are a chatterbox, people tune you out because they have a hard time deciphering what is important to listen to, and what is not.

    @MaryAnne I miss her too :(
    Zaylericcris10sen
  • Right Karasti, I ask myself those questions before I say anything. Except I don't really ask myself those questions, my mind just churns for a bit in a sort-of process, and that process more or less equals those three questions. Saved me from a lot of trouble, let me tell you.
  • misterCopemisterCope PA, USA Veteran
    I think that you should give it a try, @Cory. I've done it in the past (usually for a day) and it's a unique experience. I still occasionally do it, but in order to deal with work and school, I allow myself to speak only if asked a direct question.

    It's amazing to realize what you learn when you stop thinking about how you are going to respond to what people say (how can I squeeze my way into this conversation? What will sound witty or funny, etc?) and actually start listening to what people are saying. I really recommend it.

    The only tip I can give you is go into it knowing that you are going to accidentally talk a couple of times. Just don't suddenly give up when you do. If you are trying to be a perfectionist about it, you'll get discouraged. Just say "oops!" and go back to being silent.

    Also, write "religious reasons" on a piece of paper and you can pretty much get away with anything.
    Cory
  • @Cory wouldn't it be easier on yourself if you just learned to pause for a few moments before saying something or doing something? I myself have had to learn this over the years. The amount of things that have happened in the world due to people not pausing and giving a thought is huge, people fighting, arguing, killing, whatever. You just need to slow down mentally which can come from meditation and other areas, there is no need to silence yourself IMO
    lobster
  • Learn to breath in slowly before speaking. Polish your speaking with mantra, this will keep your jaw and mind happy, though as you suspect they might not be connected ;)

    Learn NLP, which makes great use of the conscious expression of language. it might be better to only speak kindly and gently rather than being unkind to your tongue which will rebel against the sanction.

    Calm from meditation would help. I find that the mind still moves even if the tongue is being bitten . . . :orange:
    ysmael
  • Cory said:

    I say a lot of things that I don't mean, because I tend to not think before I speak. I was just thinking take a few weeks or a month in silence just to get my mind back in order. I feel like it would be a good experience if I can pull it off, because I am a chatter box, and any opportunity to slow down and observe life a little bit more, is good to me. Any thoughts, suggestions, tips, ideas?

    Since you think you do not think before you speak, you probably would be better off trying to think before you speak. It is better to be a chatter box rather than a mute, especially if you are saying something nice and encouraging.
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    Taking vows of silence is a great practice! I used to do this previously. Although It was not for long continuous stretches of time like a few weeks or a month. I would do it every Sunday with no talking at all. Then that quietness would extend itself into the normal weekdays. It was a very helpful practice!

    :)
  • Studying right speech this week, and have been thinking about trying it for a day to reflect more on right speech and observe all the things that pop up that I want to say. The desire for conversation is natural but sometimes can lead me to speak unskillfully, just to interact with someone. A day would be pretty tough on its own! Lots of support for you if you try it out @Cory.
  • howhow Veteran
    edited September 2013
    @Cory Consider simply

    Speaking if it manifests compassion, love or wisdom.

    Being mute if greed, hate or delusion will be the result.
    Coryriverflowlobster
  • I can't find a clip on the intertoobs (at least not in English), but there's a wonderful scene in The Frisco Kid (with Gene Wilder and Harrison Ford, filmed in the late 70s) where Gene Wilder (playing a Polish rabbi) is in a Christian monastery.

    The monks have all taken a vow of silence, and they all have a rather somber demeanor. There's a scene where Gene Wilder and the monks are sitting at a long table eating. Gene Wilder repeatedly talks, leading to awkward moments with the monks. Then he asks one of the monks to pass the salt. Gene Wilder says, "Thank you," and the monk blurts out "You're welcome." They all look at each other with this "Oh-sh!t-what-do-we-do-now?" look of alarm. --Then they all burst out laughing.

    I wish I could find the clip. Its an unforgettable scene.
Sign In or Register to comment.