How To Turn Everything You Know About Happiness On Its Head

Many people have an inflated sense of their happiness. But they don’t, usually, do a very good job getting out in front of themselves, and they aren’t necessarily taking advantage of their gifts for inner satisfaction and self-compassion.

We all like to believe that we have a self that is complete — a center of gravity, a central personality, an indivisible whole. While this is sometimes true in some aspects of our lives, in others, we are likely to be so overloaded with the outside world that we’re far from our best selves.

This makes us very vulnerable to being exploited by the people who want to take what they can from us . So how can we get our minds off it? How can we make room for new priorities in life that offer more and better pleasure?

To see what is possible we need to be clear of what is just noise.

What is Noise?

We hear noise in so many aspects of our lives, and in so many ways. But noise is in many ways different from the rest of what we experience.

If a car horn is blaring as you exit the house, it means you’re being forced to look at it or else get out. Yet if the same noise is from a computer or a phone, you don’t have to get out of the house.

So what is noise? Noise is just a lack of attention. And the more attention the same thing receives when no one else is using it, the less we hear it. We’re busy, right? Of course we are. This may explain why we are often bombarded with other noises — whether a voice, conversation, traffic, or a computer. If noise means lack of attention, why do we hear a lot of noise?

If we have a lot of attention to spare, and if we’re doing something useful, like talking with the neighbors, we might hear noise all the time. We may even be quite surprised to learn that we are often too busy for noise.

But when we give our attention elsewhere, when we become absorbed in what we’re doing, we rarely lose the signal from the computer or from the person on the phone. It takes a lot of energy in us to remain vigilant and aware and interested in other people, but when we’re focused, we are much more receptive to our inner silence.

The more attention we give attention to something, the more it will stay there. The more attention we let go for long intervals, the more it might not appear at all.

What is the meaning of silence? In the Buddhist tradition, when we speak of inner silence, we’re talking about our awareness of an internal experience, not of a person, place, or thing. Because the essence of inner silence is not just attention, but alertness, alertness is an important way to know that we have to slow down and take time out for some other sort of attention.

Let’s take a closer look at silence:

Silence : The word “silence,” in a Buddhist context, is just the absence of sound; the absence of external distractions, or distracting thoughts. In other words, it is the total absence of all noise. And there are multiple ways that we can experience silence, but here are a few examples:

When we are alone to meditate, we become aware of the sounds of our breathing or the sound of the sky as it falls.

When we’re on our own, away from the outside world, we may experience the silence we experience for silence. When this happens, if we have enough time, we can go about our day and experience nothing but the soundless silence of the trees, the quiet of the sea.