Sounds of Silence

“Silence is only frightening to people who are compulsively verbalizing.” ~William S. Burroughs

As a loud, crowded world bangs its pots and pans and demands relentless attention, managing the noise can be difficult. After all, the world does not care about interrupting someone else’s silence. The world (and just about everyone in it) believes that she or he has something to say. And often, so do you and I.

Despite this, silence remains a vital part of healthy living and silence by choice can be beneficial.

All sounds, from a whisper to a classical symphony, arise out of silence and disappear into silence. Think about that for a moment. Yet silence is always there beneath sound and is the space where sound can exist. We tend to think of silence as the absence of sound, but silence has its own weight and quality. Taking time to experience silence calms the mind and rejuvenates the body.

One way to experience silence is to wake up before the rest of the world has come alive. Try not to move into activity, and leave off the lights, radio and your mobile device. Sit still and simply listen. Your may hear your heartbeat or your breath, but keep your attention tuned to the silence that surrounds you. Allow the silence to penetrate your body until it moves into your core.

Five minutes of communing with silence can leave you feeling vibrant and reconnected.

Why appreciate silence? Because it’s restorative. Silence:

  • Gives us time to think. Thinking shapes or reshapes feelings. And feelings feed actions.
  • Enables us to gain or regain control of ideas, concepts, changes, viewpoints or opinions that belong or don’t belong in our minds. The crowded mind can become disorderly. Quiet can restore the order.
  • Allows us to think carefully through both sides of a lens tied to a tough problem or difficult decision: the potential upside or risky downside, the pros and cons. It tempers our tendency to be impulsive. Noise is distracting and lures us to rush. Quiet time lets us carefully study both sides of an important issue and frees us to sell it to ourselves from two, disparate points of view. Simple concept, right?
  • By design, enables us to relax, read and concentrate. Silence opens a door to accumulating wisdom; distractions are wisdom’s barrier.

So, what to can you do? At night, choose a moment after everyone around you has retired and tune into silence. Yes, you’ll likely be tired but try it anyway. You can also experience silence throughout the day. Even in the midst of activity, moments of silence are always present. Often, we ignore or feel nervous around silence and try to fill these moments with sound. Try not to.

Silence is always there – vast, potent, and available for us to step into any time we choose.

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