Science says silence is vital for our brains.
The world’s secrets are hidden inside Silence.
Over the years I have pondered much about silence and where to find it. As a family, we prefer spending time in natural silence in the New Forest, Jurassic coastal walking or in mountains.The experience of deep tranquility is much preferred compared to a hectic and noisy day out at organised events such as New Forest Show or an amusement Park. For many years, I have wanted to take part in a silence retreat, the day will come before too long when I can do that.
“Walk with me”, a cinematic journey into the world of a monastic community at The Plum Village in France, where they practise the art of mindfulness with Zen Buddist master Thich Nhat Hahn is wonderfully peaceful to watch. every half hour the “bells of mindfulness” sound. Everyone stops their activities and brings their awareness to their brething, just for a few minutes. That’s all it takes.
Azriel ReShel states in her article on science and silence, that we all feel the value of silence at some point in our lives. “Silence is comforting, nourishing and cosy.It opens up tp inspiration, and nurtures the mind, body and spirit” she writes.At the same time the madness of noise drowns our creativity and our connection, She continues: “Studies shows that the noise has a powerful physical effect on our brain causing elevated levels of stress hormones. Sounds travel to the brain as electrical signals via the ear“. Stress hormones are even released When we are sleeping.”
Living in a consistently noisy environment will cause us extremely high levels of harmful stress hormones- night and day. The World Health Organisation concluded seven years ago. that every person in Europe is loosing one day per year of healthy life due to noise. Data also shows that excessive noise is root cause of 3,000 heart disease deaths per year. Interestingly scientists say, “the simple yet ancient experience of silence could be just the healing balm we need to quell our crazy modern lifestyle.“ Besides scientific proof that noise hurts and silence heal, what is this current “rave about silence“?
The Norwegian explorer Erling Kagge expresses in his recent book Silence in the age of noise: “The world’s secrets are hidden inside silence”. The ancient spiritual masters have known this all along. Fellow Norwegian author Jon Posse claims “perhaps it’s because silence goes together with wonder, but it also has a kind of majesty to it, yes, like an ocean or like an endless snowy expanse“. You might fear silence. he says. if you
do not feel the wonder. Erling Kagge writes about an angst. which leads us to busy ourselves to avoid silence. This avoidance is more than likely caused by a fear of getting to know ourselves better. Do you recognise this trait in yourself?
Silence is considered awkward, embarrassing or uncomfortable for example among people at a party when not sure what to say next, or among a group of strangers in a lift. On the other hand, there is the silence which consoles; the silence of a sleeping child, the stillness of mountains or the tranquility of a church.
My own memories of total Silence are all from nature. One such place was the Atacama Desert in Northern Chile. This vast place had a kind of eerie stillness in the moonlight with glittering sand corns like a carpet of diamonds.Growing up in Denmark, I recall many snowy winter landscapes. so still that it felt as the snow had swallowed up all noise deep within.
It is a challenge today for people to find silence in the city, the place in which most people now live or work. An even larger challenge for us all is to find positive silence inside ourselves. When you find this place, you realise you are totally alone with your thoughts and ideas. The future is no longer relevant. You py no attentionto the past, You are present in your own life and you can converse with nature. Silence forces you to ponder on your feelings-a place most people fear to reach, hence the self-induced business of our day to day life.
In the book Finding Sanctuary, a follow up on the TV series The Monastery 13 years ago, Abbot Christopher Jamison of Worth Abbey in West Sussex,
explains that “in silence people inevitably have to wrestle with their own demons”. Provokingly he continues “people do talk a lot of rubbish, you should try omitting vulgarity. gossip and “just for a laugh” from your conversation and see what happens”.
I strongly agree with Erling Kogge when he says:”For me, silence in nature is of the highest value. That‘s where I feel most at home“ . Finally, what is silence?“Silence is about rediscovering. through pausing. the things that brings joy”.
”Discover how to incorperate silence into your daily life” – join my next evening talk at my home in Highcliffe September the 17th or at The Hub in Lymington the 20th at 7-00-9.0opm. Please call to book your seat.