Befriending Silence

mandala art by Heather Maxwell

Pause. Put down all electronics. Turn off your music, radio, TV. Breathe in and notice your body. Is it embracing the silence? Or is your body resisting it?

Very often, even when we on some level hunger for silence, we resist it. When silence descends, our first instinct often is to fill the void. There is a quickening in our core, an anxiousness of sorts. We feel a strong urge, even a compulsion, to move, to check email or Facebook, to listen to the news, or to tackle the next thing on our to do list.

When we have not yet made friends with silence, it can feel like we have just jumped off a cliff and are in free fall. Fear naturally sets in. Our fight or flight response is activated. No wonder our instinct is to run.

But it is in the silence that we can hear our inner voice, and allow it to guide us on our way. It is in the silence that we are able to soften and not brace ourselves for life’s next threat. And thus, it is in the silence that we heal.  Within the silence, we find our purpose, reconnect with our intentions, strengthen our resolve, open to new layers of consciousness, and feel whole and complete.

Focusing on the image of feathers floating in the air can help ease the transition from endless noise and chatter into silence. Get comfortable, either sitting or lying down. Imagine either a single feather or a whole swarm of feathers in the sky above you, whatever feels good to you. If you are imagining many feathers, focus in on one of them.

The feather is high up, a mere speck to the bare eye. Stay focused on the speck as it floats down toward you and slowly gets bigger as it gets closer to you. The breezes gently play with the feather. As the feather continues to descend, its path playfully zigs and then zags. Every now and then, the feather makes a full loop with ease. When the feather is just above your head, you become aware that it makes not a single sound as it continues to float down. Continue to watch the feather as it passes in front of your face and then gently settles in your outstretched hand. Feel the feather’s softness and lightness. Sink into the feather’s silence. Feel yourself soften and heal.

Repeat to yourself:

Breathing In, I rest in the silence of feathers floating in the air.

Breathing Out, within their gentle playfulness I soften and heal.


If you like this mandala, entitled Silence, it is available as a card and as a limited edition print through our Etsy Shop. It will also be on display and available for purchase during the Wisconsin Alliance of Artists and Craftspeople show at the UW Hospital and Clinics in Madison, WI in February. Artwork for this show will be on display roughly February 8 through March 4.