But the perfection of silence is to be absorbed in remembrance of God, and the easiest most powerful way of being absorbed in the remembrance of God, which creates complete material silence, is to chant His holy name.
I’m an introvert which means I need alone time and space to process all the impressions I receive through the day. More specifically, I’m a highly sensitive person which translates to having a more sensitive nervous system than 80 % of the population (hsps makes up 20% of the population). HSPs receives more impressions than most people and its a personality trait. Example: If I’m in the office chatting to a coworker, I at the same time hear who is in the reception(even though I don’t see them), I process the people who walks by me while I’m chatting with the coworker. I’m unable to process this information away while I’m talking to my coworker, while most people don’t notice these things. Hsps get easily overwhelmed because there’s just too much inputs to deal with.
Once I was in a restaurant/disco with my coworkers. The music was so uncomfortably loud that I had problems hearing what people just inches from me were saying. So I spoke so loudly until one of my coworkers a bit embarrassed told me that I was speaking a bit too loud. That’s when I realized that something may be wrong with my hearing. So I got an appointment with an ear doctor who took the usual tests. When I finally came back into his office he looked at me and said: “You have perfect hearing”.
“Why do I have problems hearing people in noisy environments then?”, I asked.”Do you have a concentration problem?” was his response.
I didn’t understand it then, but I do now. I didn’t have a concentration problem. I was an hsp. In one video by Elaine Aaron, she claims that hsps needs at least two hours every day of alone time to process life. When I heard this the first time I was thinking: “Are you kidding me?” It seems such an enormous amount of time, and at that time I was hard pressed to get even 15 minutes of alone time during the day. I was like a thirsty person in the desert for alone time.
Over time, I grudgingly acknowledged that yes, two hours a day is probably right. So of course, when Radhanath Swami spoke on silence, I got very interested. Since silence is as important as breathing to me, how can the maha mantra be silence?
My problem is that there are times where I need a break from the chanting, because it’s so loud that it takes up all the space in my mind. For me, the maha-mantra is noisy, so I’m unable to process the day when I chant. This is of course a good thing, because it means the mind is busy working on the maha-mantra, and not processing the day and my thoughts. But – I do need time to process my day and thoughts, so therefore I need silence from the maha-mantra.
I have tried to figure out how the maha-mantra is silence, and I get the part about how the mantra quiets the mind from material desires. But what it doesn’t give me is the space where I process the day. Reflection is very important for me, and the space where I reflect on the day is where I receive energy. It’s when I charge the batteries. The maha-mantra charges the battery as well, but in a different way. I need both.
So I need silence time where I don’t chant. I haven’t yet understood how the maha-mantra can give me that silence where I reflect on the day. For me the maha-mantra crowds out.