I had an experience of mind-silence in a crowded tex-mex restaurant waiting for a large slice of beef. This happened in august 2011. It was a Saturday evening and the restaurant was jam packed with customers. You cannot keep drinking waiting for your food. So I got quite impatient. Suddenly and without a warning my mind changed from impatience to wandering off. Zapp! Mind gone. I kept watching the interesting wall paintings and photographs of Indian Chiefs and American Heroes of Rock and Roll, and I realized that I was completely happy and thoughtless. This lingered on long for several minutes. Our food came, and it tasted great. The evening was fantastic.
After this experience I could return to this silent place in my head at will. But it slowly faded. Probably because I didn’t practice. Moreover, half a year later, I had an ‘existential crisis’ to tackle. And I forgot to go to that place altogether. Perhaps silence and crisis were related. In retrospect I have to admit that they probably were, but I had no clue at that moment.
I realize these days that I’ve been meditating often during the past 10 years without giving it the label meditation. I often meditated on silence while in public transport. It is easier when there is a landscape flashing by accompanied by repetitive noise. Mind has some images to process and doesn’t have to keep itself busy creating thoughts or coming forward with opinions.
When facing a white wall, or with closed eyes, mind wants to get rid of boredom. In my case it is silent in the beginning often for at least a minute, but then it comes up with a to do list. When silenced by watching the thoughts it stops 3 or 4 seconds, then tries another item on the to do list. This can continue quite a long time till the practice ends (I don’t set a timer – it never takes longer than 30 minutes, often just 10).
It still happens that the silence comes all by itself. Then it is much stronger. I guess that silence cannot be forced, it is more like thoughts evaporating without any effort, when that happens. Effort is counterproductive.