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Listening to Silence

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Our minds can be filled with constant chatter. How do we quiet the mind?

When we allow our mind simply rest in the silence, an entire world of opportunity and learning is awakened. Explore various methods for quieting the mind and learn about the benefits of doing so.

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Brant Secunda

Brant Secunda

Shaman & Healer

Brant Secunda is a shaman, healer, and ceremonial leader in the Huichol Indian tradition of Mexico. He completed a 12-year apprenticeship with Don José Matsuwa, the renowned shaman who passed away in 1990 at the age of 110. Brant Secunda is the adopted grandson of Don José and was chosen by Don José to take his place to help carry on Huichol Shamanism. He is the co-founder of the American Herbalist Guild, and the founder of the Huichol Foundation. Since 1979 Brant Secunda has been the Director of the Dance of the Deer Foundation Center for Shamanic Studies and leads seminars and pilgrimages worldwide. His work has been documented on television, radio, and in articles and books throughout the USA, Europe and Japan. He is the co-author of the award-winning book Fit Soul Fit Body: 9 Keys to a Healthier, Happier You.


  • Mark Allen

    Mark Allen


Mark Allen What role does silence play in Huichol Shamanism?
Brant Secunda Silence is an important part. You know, when I lived among the Huichol's, it always amazed me, you just sit in silence for long periods of time, and were happy with this. They did not have to have this need of chatter with each other, or they just could be silent, and breathe in the beauty of the world around them.

So that really impressed me, how they could do that, and they have different techniques of course, but silence is a time for us to quiet the mind. If you quiet the mind, you are silenced, quiet the heart there is silence. Stop the internal dialogue, stop the internal chatter, this brings about silence, and when silence can bring peace to your soul, peace to heart.

You don't always have to talk. You don't always have to be having this internal dialogue, or thinking things, whether you are thinking them out loud, or thinking them quietly in silence, and so this is what is very important in Shamanism for the Huichol's, for us just to stop the internal dialogue that goes on.

So many times we meet people, we don't like the conversation, we change what they said, and what you said. It is just needless chatter for a human being, and when we stop that, and when there is silence, there is peace. Peace of mind, peace of heart, peace of your soul, and it brings you definitely into a more calm state.
Mark Allen Is that one of the main experiences that people have in that silences, is peace, or is there other things that they might gain from being in that place of quiet?
Brant Secunda Well during my apprenticeship it was really emphasized for me, to just silence my thoughts. Silence my words to an extent of finding peace, and harmony. It does not mean you can't talk, you can talk all you want, but to talk in a focused way. In a conscious way, in a loving way.

In this way, then when you silent, when there is no talking, or no internal chatter, you can hear the ancient one's speaking to your soul. You can feel the wind touch your heart. You can listen with your heart to the spirit of the world.
Mark Allen So it is a lot more than just quieting your mind, it is affecting your soul, or sounds like your whole being?
Brant Secunda It is affecting your whole core being of who you are as a human being.
Mark Allen How do we foster that inner silence?
Brant Secunda By practicing it. To practice, you want to be a good guitar player, you have to keep playing. You can't play once, and not play for ten years, and expect to keep it going, and it is that way with anything, including Shamanism, and Shamanic practices. Of course, practicing the art of silence, and then you can hear the ancient one's speak to your heart, and speak to your soul.
Mark Allen Are there any particular practices that Huichol's might use to foster that journey-
Brant Secunda They just have to go out in nature to do it. That is a practice, or go to place between two thoughts, and be right in the middle, and then there is silence.
Mark Allen Which is something that sounds like we can all do, even in the modern world.
Brant Secunda Everyone can do this, and learn from it. There is so many practices in Huichol Shamanism that let a human being find strength. That let a human being find power in the way of the Shaman, by quieting the mind, quieting the heart, quieting unnecessary actions in our life.
Mark Allen This sounds like a great tool for countering stress, or challenges, or anything that a lot of us face every day?
Brant Secunda It is. If you have a lot of stress, just quiet down, take a deep breath, and just feel empowered by the silence. Not that it brings you down, but it empowers you.
Mark Allen It is a great distinction. Empowered by the silence. Thank you.
Brant Secunda You are welcome.