Yoga Levels: Daily Silence

08/16/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

I was in charge of the pinata at my daughter's second birthday party, and after a solid hour of trying to speak loudly and clearly to a room full of tots anxious to get their hands on the blue bat that would lead them to a bagful of candy and toys, I completely lost my voice.

At first, it was just a bit raspy. But by the next day, it was completely gone. No sound.

On a superficial level, having no voice is inconvenient. In New York City, I don't know that I would venture into the world without a voice. It's an important part of surviving, getting needs met, doing business, relating to friends and loved ones.

However, on a deeper level, it was wonderful. You know, some people pay a great deal of money to go on Vipassana retreats where silence is officiated by the leaders of the retreat, and even then, attendees have been known to sneak away with their cell phones to speak. I was having my own Vipassana retreat -- for free! And it would be impossible for me to cheat. Physically impossible.

My voicelessness lasted for about three days. Whenever I had something important to interject into a moment or conversation, I realized that I couldn't speak. And then I realized that what I was about to say wasn't really that important. I felt my important ego shrinking, and it felt great. I began to listen a little closer to the world around me, and to the people in my life.

From a yogic point of view, the world that presents itself to us in each moment is the great teacher or guru. Wherever you find yourself right now has the energy of life flowing through every object and situation, guiding you, teaching you, showing you what you need to know. Each moment is perfectly placed before us, and within it is everything we could possibly need to understand -- if we're listening.

Without speaking, I was forced to pay close attention to what each moment was showing me. I decided to spend at least one hour of every day practicing as much silence as possible. It wasn't so inconvenient as it was wonderful.

On a superficial level, losing my voice was inconvenient. On a deeper, yogic level, losing my voice was a deep lesson in life, listening, and seeing the precious gift of every moment. Including laryngitis.