“He who does not understand your silence will probably not understand your words.”
– Elbert Hubbard
Our world is full of noise. All around us are ringing mobiles, loud, blaring music, the incessant roar of traffic. How can we combat the effects on us of this deafening cacophony ?
The antidote to all this intrusive sound is is to allow ourselves to have some silence. Silence that will enable us to just ‘be.’
So here are 10 ways that the power of silence can help us, both mentally and physically:
- It relieves stress and tension
- Scientists have also discovered that silence increases brain activity.
- It aids memory and learning:
A 2013 study on mice published in the journal Brain, Structure and Function used differed types of noise and silence and monitored the effect the sound and silence had on the brains of the mice. The silence was intended to be the control in the study but what they found was surprising. The scientists discovered that when the mice were exposed to two hours of silence per day they developed new cells in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is a region of the brain associated with memory, emotion and learning
4. Research indicates that silence can help combat insomnia and other ills:
“Noise has been linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, tinnitus and loss of sleep. We’ve all experienced the detrimental effects of noise pollution. Excessive noise can be a major affront to the physical senses and today, more and more people are identifying as highly sensitive and unable to function in chaotic and noisy environments. But now science has the proof not only that noise hurts, but also that silence heals.”
5. It can help creativity. Atmosphere and environment are very important if we are to be creative; so many writers, artists, poets, etc. speak of the importance of inspirational surroundings.
Many people need silence in order to produce good work; other need a lack of distraction from their chosen pursuit. So, the familiar hum of cafe conversation may be an aid to creativity for some; this provides a kind of anonymous, distraction- free peacefulness. What is needed is a place where the mind can freely wander and be imaginative.
“Silence is an empty space. Space is the home of the awakened mind.”
“Everything that’s created comes out of silence. Thoughts emerge from the nothingness of silence. Words come out of the void. Your very essence emerged from emptiness. All creativity requires some stillness.”
– Wayne Dyer
6. Silence increases our self-awareness and our sensitivity to the environment around us. we become more contemplative, more reflective.
7. It helps us to feel connected to the world and humankind. In a previous post, I refer to Anthony Storr‘s discussion of the ‘oceanic feeling,’ a sense of one-ness with the world that can arise out of walking in the countryside in solitude. Being in silence can produce or contribute to this effect.
If we focus, become centred, really listen peacefully to the silence, we will hear minute sounds we might normally miss. We will get to know the silence more profoundly. For most often, silence contains noise that we cannot at first hear.
What will we discover in that silence? Perhaps, if we are outside, it will be the murmur of a brook, the snap of a twig, the whispering leaves, the music of birdsong, the embrace of a soft breeze, a distant dog barking, the sudden flapping of a rising bird. These are the sounds of silence.
Meditatively, we may allow ourselves to feel relaxed and surrender to the world around us and to feel more in touch with our inner selves:
“Penetrate deep into the word “Ohm”. Gradually the word will disappear and only the silence will remain. The world is a support. The meaning is within you. Om brings out that meaning which is hidden in your soul.”
– Amit Ray.
There are many different kinds of silence and as many reasons for it. Sometimes people are silent though anger, shyness, blame, guilt, fear:
“Silence, too, can be torture.
Being in a silent space alone can also feel threatening. Maybe because we are then forced to face ourselves, without external distraction?
However, if we are able to bear it, silence can also be enlightening:
“I’ve begun to realise that you can listen to silence and learn from it. It has a quality and a dimension all its own…… It has a strange, beautiful texture.”
Sitting silently with someone else may feel awkward, but if that person is a good and comfortable friend, it can feel strengthening to be together quietly. This state has overtones of Winnicottian theory about the capacity to be alone with someone else there. It is also reminiscent of Hobson’s ‘aloneness-togetherness.’
How Can We Achieve Silence? 7 Ways:
1.We can meditate in a quiet space. This will stop the inner prattle that goes on within us all and calm the mind.
2.We can get up early or go to bed later.
3. We can take a bath.
4.We can do some exercise.
5. We can visit a place of worship
6. We can walk in the countryside, alone, or with someone else.
7. We can go on a silent retreat.
“Silence is a source of great strength.”
– Lao Tzu
*** 3 Helpful and informative books on silence:
“The quieter you become the more you are able to hear.” Rumi
Do you have views about silence? Could you leave a comment? I would so appreciate some feedback below and some more thoughts and discussion to enrich this post! Thankyou.