We live in a world full of noise and chatter. A world wherein our daily routine is inundated with distractions as much as responsibilities. So much so that, many of us have forgotten the beautiful sound of silence. Many have even come to fear silence, when in fact, that is when we can truly hear ourselves think and find a sense of balance. Our inner balance is more important now than it’s ever been in our history.
Over the past few months, as much of the world has gone into lockdown, our lives have changed dramatically. While working from home has its advantages (say goodbye to rush hour traffic and long commute), it also has a downside. Our usual daily routines have disappeared and the line between work and play has blurred. We’ve seen young people struggle to adapt to this new normal, where everything familiar is now seemingly lost. They have no idea what hit them until they’re in it. Many have reached out on social media expressing feelings of frustration and anxiety.
This is not unusual and certainly not the end of the world. To get through a difficult phase over which you have no control, start by focusing on something over which you do have control.
Here is a 60-minute routine that I’ve been practicing for over 30 years. I call it the Sphere of Silence – it’s a combination of things I learned from my grandfather and teachings I’ve picked up throughout my life from various cultures. Practicing this routine helps me stay grounded, focused, and most importantly, feel positive. While it doesn’t necessarily have to be practiced in the morning, starting your day with it is guaranteed to give you the boost of productivity you need to seize your day.
The Sphere of Silence is broken into three segments of 30 minutes, 20 minutes, and 10 minutes each. If you are just starting out, you can try a shortened version by slicing time off each of the segments, but I highly recommend working your way to the complete 60 minutes for optimal benefits.
The ground rule for the Sphere of Silence, as the name indicates, is complete silence. The entire 60-minute practice must be done with no distractions from the outside world, so switch off all your devices and find a quiet spot away from others. Have a journal and a pen ready. Also, pick up a non-fiction book you’ve been meaning to read for a while and set it near you.
Beginning our day in silence is what gives us the clarity we need to calmly face challenges. This hour is the time where we collect our thoughts, train our mind, and decide how we want our day to be.
The First 30 Minutes: Goal Setting
This is the most important segment of the practice and can be further broken into three 10-minute sets. Pick up your journal and spend the first 10 minutes writing down your short-term, medium-term and long-term goals.
Then, dedicate the next 10-minute set to assessing your progress on the goals you set the previous day. If you are on Day 1, use this second 10-minute set to continue your goal setting exercise. Use the final 10 min set to take note of any unmet goals (especially short-term or daily goals) and assess the reasons behind them. The events of tomorrow develop from what you do today, so understanding yesterday is the key to shaping tomorrow.
The next 20 Minutes: Getting Woke
This is when you pick up that book you bought many moons ago but never got around to reading. The ground rule for this segment is that the book must be non-fiction; something that teaches you new things or enriches your mind with practical knowledge. In the first 10 mins, read a chapter of the book. Then, spend the remaining 10 mins writing down a summary of what you just read.
By the time you finish the book, you will have your own handwritten CliffsNotes! This simple exercise helps you absorb and understand the information better and strengthens your short-term memory.
The final 10 Minutes: Mindfulness
This final segment is an important grounding process, like a cool-down after a good workout. Use these last 10 minutes for self-reflection and, if you believe in a higher power, for communicating with God, or the Universe, whichever you prefer. The approach is entirely up to you, but the objective of this segment is to be present and realize what truly matters.
When you practice the Sphere of Silence regularly, you will notice immediate changes in how you perceive the world around you. You will begin to acquire an intense insight into everything you do. And, if you practice it without a break for 21 days, it will become a habit that has long-lasting impact on your mental health and well-being.
I find the Sphere of Silence to be the ultimate weapon against the assault on our senses and the insanity that prevails around us on a daily basis. Projecting the day in your mind before it begins, making decisions and watching them manifest – all these things have a deeper purpose than simply taking control.
When you see your vision come to life, this ultimately gives you confidence. You acquire a deeper understanding of yourself. You learn to trust yourself, are able to count on your decisions, and feel more secure amid the noise and uncertainties around you.
Contact me on Twitter and let me know if the Sphere of Silence has helped you. I have no doubt that if you maintain this routine, you will find yourself – just as I did.
This article was written by Vijay Eswaran, a Malaysian entrepreneur, philanthropist and author. He is the founder and Executive Chairman of the QI Group of Companies, a multinational conglomerate headquartered in Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur with operations in more than 30 countries.
Editor’s Note: A conscious reunion with nature helps reduce stress and stabilizes the psyche.