Silence is not always the easiest thing to experience. Who wants to sit through nothingness and void? We are often bombarded by noise. It’s all around us. It’s in our technology: Smart phones, tablets, laptops, computers, television, radio, music. There is noise everywhere. And where there are coffee shops, we are sure to have caffeinated humanoids who are overly chatty and overly boisterous. Noise feels like energy; it resonates as if life is riveting through us. This is why many of us feel the need to go to coffee houses or bookstores to do work. Silence feels like isolation, and this is why some of us crave crowds and the noise that comes with it.
What’s wrong with silence? Can we handle the void that silent moments often bring? I often feel like I have to fill them with nonsense, talk about the weather or my latest meal or maybe the latest breaking headline on CNN.
According to an article This is your Brain on Silence there are negative ramifications to living with noise:
“Neurophysiological research suggests that noises first activate the amygdalae, clusters of neurons located in the temporal lobes of the brain, associated with memory formation and emotion. The activation prompts an immediate release of stress hormones like cortisol. People who live in consistently loud environments often experience chronically elevated levels of stress hormones.”
Another study conducted by the European Heart Journal found that:
“Long-term exposure to high levels of noise dramatically boosts heart risk. Men exposed to prolonged noise were found to have a whopping 50 percent higher risk of having a heart attack. Women were found to have an even greater risk, almost 300 percent.”
Clarity and inner peace are said to be found through silence. Eastern medicine often equates silence with meditation and the attainment of a deep, personal wholeness that is invisible when surrounded by noise. The Hindu call this mauna. Essentially it is a vow of silence. As the Hindu believe, “Outer peace is simply a means to help us find inner silence.”
If we are so used to the distractions that our environment brings, the difficulty comes when there is silence and we feel there must be some sort of noise that needs to fill it. The more comfortable we are with silence, the more comfortable we are with our inner selves.
The Bottom Line:
There is noise all around us. And often, noise filling our mental space clogging our brains with overthinking. There is so much of it that we are constantly distracted. But if we learn to envelop the stillness, we become at peace with it and we understand that we can’t evolve without a little bit of silence.