I observed a day of silence for New Year’s Day - January 1, 2011 (1/1/11). It was at once easier than expected and more difficult than anticipated, but it was an interesting practice.
From first waking until I went to sleep I abstained from all speech and all forms of media and communications. No magazines, books, or newspaper; no texting or email; no surfing the web; no video or music. Only dwelling in silence with myself and my Self.
My morning started like any Saturday - 5:00 AM on the road to Berkeley for my Siva Puja. Before leaving Antioch I hit Starbuck’s for a coffee just as they are opening. The barista didn’t like my hand gestures and said, “Choosing to be a mime is a lousy New Year’s Resolution! I know you can talk!” She was not amused, and I resolved to write a note before I ran into anyone else. On a scrap of thin cardboard I wrote, “I am observing a day of Silence. Thank you for your patience, And Happy New Year!”
Since there was no one else at the temple I didn’t need to perform and explain the puja for an audience, so I was able to do the entire puja as manasika (“of the mind”), focused completely on the perfect mental recitations of the puja mantras.
After puja I went to Safeway and then home for the rest of the day. Throughout the day I kept repeating “HLRIM” (“HLREEM”) - Bhaglamuki’s bija (Bhaglamuki is the goddess of speech) to not have the internal monologue running. I was not reminiscing about the past or dreaming of the future - I was entirely present in the moment. I managed to keep that sense of presence for the entire day with only a few brief lapses of attention.
Be here now.