During a recent yoga class, I invited my students to sit, breathe, and embrace a feeling of inner stillness. I had decided to focus that evening’s class and my guidance around the theme of “the quiet within.” Since the class was being taught on Zoom, I was comfortable in my own space cocooned in the fragrance of patchouli. I began the class with a quote from an unknown author: “The quieter you become, the more you can hear.” I offered a few moments for contemplation and then began to thread moments of calm and stillness throughout class as we flowed from one asana to another. Halfway through class, the fire alarms in my home shattered the quiet and blared throughout the house. Somehow, I managed to stop myself from performing the almost-automatic “Stop, Drop, & Roll” direction that countless school fire drills had ingrained into my head. I quickly and calmly directed the class to move toward the Earth, informed everyone that I was fine, and ended class. The culprit may have been too many candles lit in a room, an equipment malfunction, or a reminder from the Universe that true quiet has nothing to do with outside sounds and everything to do with the space inside you.
Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.” In a similar fashion, I would offer that “True quiet is not merely the absence of noise; it is the presence of inner stillness.”
This quiet space within us needs to be cultivated. It needs to be honored. It needs to be touched through practice so that when the alarms shriek, the music blasts, the kids scream, and life rages on at full force, you can easily grasp it. You can go to a space within that cannot be disturbed by any outer challenge, calamity, or noise.
Take a moment to sit quietly. If the dog barks or someone shouts, don’t be pulled from your own inner calm. Focus on your breath and let your heart dance in the peace. True peace and quiet stems from your internal world, not your external one.