Silence: My Year Under Buddhist Monks in Taipei

“Erase all thoughts”, the buddhist monk in front of us said.

I was in a large classroom with over 30 people, none of whom were near my age.

I did not tell my millennial friends that the reason I was skipping night outs was that I wanted to spend my Friday evenings meditating in the quiet comforts of the temple.

Buddhist Philosophy was what gave me strength during this toughest time of my life.

My mom was battling oral cancer and I was her primary care taker.

Anxiety plagued me every single day. Am I doing enough? Am I giving so much to her that I am losing myself? Is she hurting today?

Going to the cancer hospital made me feel a deep sense of despair.

Around me were cancer patients who were aching for more days that would never come. 

I am grateful to say that training under Buddhist Masters made me grow exponentially.

Thanks to the guidance of my Buddhism teacher, I learned the art of letting go. I learned how to let the pain in and to set pain free.

It took years of hard work and by no means am I an expert at silencing my mind. But I am grateful because I know staying silent and mastering letting go is attainable with practice. 

This mindset practice served me when I needed it the most.

The moment when my mom died.

Instead of anxiety, I felt extremely calm.

I felt her presence- a sound I wouldn’t have heard if my mind were chattering.

The ability to stay silent, internally and externally, leads me to her.

I know that I can hear my mom’s guidance if I just stayed still.

She never left. 

Silence is the sound of purest love.

Artwork: Woman in Red in the Forest, 1907 by Henri Rousseau