Rx for stress: Silence

Rx for stress: Silence



What happens when 14 successful Filipino women declare that silence is their personal weapon against increasing tension in their life and in the world around them? People listen.

At the Ayala Center in Makati City, a JAM (short for Just A Minute) concert was held recently, with musicians — bands and solo acts — playing rousing music, interpersed with video clips of the 14 women from the fields of media, politics, and education discussing how periods of purposeful silence daily have transformed their lives.

Sunday promenaders at Greenbelt 3, quickly catching the program structure, stopped and stayed for more.

JAM is a year-round worldwide venture initiated by the Brahma Kumaris, a UN peace messenger, that urges people to seek inner silence and use it to rediscover their values in order to create positive change.

The global launch was held on Sept. 17, 2006 in London's Wembley Arena, to celebrate the UN International Day of Peace.

Several JAM events have since been mounted in 118 countries — from Athens to Moscow to Rio to Iceland and Asia.

At the Makati program, former senator Leticia Ramos-Shahani revealed how moments of silence helped her steer a 12–year high-powered political career in accurate directions.

"Instead of speaking mindlessly, silence gives one a sense of gravity and deliberateness that people expect from public officials," Shahani said.

For Manila-based photographer Denise Weldon, silence is a time to connect to her core that is "wise and all-loving," "a place that is very pure."

"This allows me to get through the day with more clarity and patience. It cuts through my work and affects my family and all I interact with," Weldon said.

Recording artist and businesswoman Timmy Cruz, related: "Silence has empowered me in a way that I could not imagine. It has allowed me to develop a deposit of inner peace. When I have to face situations and people, I am composed and at peace. I have this quiet energy that is so powerful, everyone just (acknowledges) it."

Former beauty queen, now rural development worker, Margie Moran–Floirendo described how practicing silence at the start of day helps her face various challenges:

"I am able to bring silence into my life — and thus, think positive thoughts and face moments of crisis."

Two women's rights and peace activists — Irene Santiago and Sr. Mary John Mananzan, OSB — likewise identified silence as their personal tool for empowering first the self and, eventually, others.

Santiago explained, "Silence has done so much for me. Being able to just pull back and summon this ability to be quiet enables me to drink from a very deep well and to come back really refreshed. It's amazing how many conflict situations can be solved with (this practice)."

Sr. Mary John, also known for her feminist writings, shared Santiago's sentiments: "As a feminist and social activist, I need silence to re-energize myself so that I am not like water poured out. In silence I really feel that all the energy that I have spent on my activities returns to me in full. Silence is very important so I can bounce back, in the service of our people."

"Silence is as necessary to human beings as the air they breath," she noted.

Brahma Kumaris Philippines is mounting a free entertainment/experiential concert on June 18, at the Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Q.C., to mark 70 years of world service, 25 years in the Philippines.

Dadi Hirdaya Mohini, one of the BKWSU three administrators, is attending the event.

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