Silence Speaks Volumes
Have you ever sat alone and watched the sunrise and the sunset? Have you watched the twinkling stars at night amidst the quiet, inky darkness around you? If you have, you’ll fathom the magic of silence. Filled with boundless energy, it transcends all barriers filling the heart and spirit with something too beautiful to describe.
Silence is a song without words, music without a tune, and beauty without form. No wonder then that writers work harder when all around is quiet, artists paint better in the comfort of silence, and musicians are inspired to heights amidst its quiet reverberations.
We buzz about like bees, gathering noise and clutter on the way. If it’s not the buzzers and bells, it’s the loud whirr of fans, the hum of air conditioners, and the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Not to mention the roar of traffic and the cackle of crowds. Everything is so jarring and discordant.
Even as we try to combat this external ruckus, we’re plagued with inner turmoil and anxieties. In addition, we fight to ward off untold fears, constantly grapple with disappointments, and nurse grievances. Suddenly, we drown in a sea of ‘frustrations and irritations’. Inevitably, the noise adds up and becomes unbearable.
Noise health hazards
Research studies conducted by Dr. Alice H Suter, of the American National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, show that “noise impacts human beings negatively”. Consequently, this causes “cognitive impairment as well as increases in aggressive behavior.” Other studies indicate that noise triggers the nervous system, releasing Adrenalin and cortisol-both stress hormones. So how do you transport yourself to a ‘quiet state’?
Well, silence stills this noise and clamor, drowns the cacophony within and without. The presumption that silence was “idle emptiness waiting to be filled” was soon shot down when discoveries were made to the contrary. It’s now a given that silence promotes ‘neurogenesis’- the growth of new functioning neurons that are assimilated by the nervous system. In doing so, it re-balances the body’s systems. This, in turn, contributes to the emotional and mental well being of human beings. It’s healing touch soothes and calms the ruffled spirit and makes short work of the woes of yesterday and anxieties of tomorrow. Truly, there is no gainsaying the fact that the restorative power of silence is absolute and complete.
Turn the pages of history and you will see that silence has been touted by many schools of thought. The Mauna Ekadashi festival in India strongly advocates it. People observing this meditate for a whole day. In addition, Buddhist and Catholic monks commit themselves to a vow of silence. Even Sufism and Taoism place a great onus on it. So too did the Quakers, who espoused the part of silence in worship and prayer.
Power of Silence
By saying nothing, you say so much. That’s why psychotherapists use silence as a tool to get their patients to talk. Silence sort of pressurizes them into saying something that their therapists want to hear. Remember, the footfalls of silence create a ‘common space’ for both- talkers and listeners. Once there, there is a special connection that encourages speech. Also, when you are angry with someone, you can’t think straight. Hence, instead of giving it back, resort to silence. Undoubtedly, silence is your best argument. Sometimes your friends just want a shoulder to cry on or just want to give vent to their sorrow or frustration. Being empathetic and just lending an ear helps immensely. As someone anonymously said, “silence isn’t empty- it’s full of answers.”
Quietly, silence opens new doors, helps to bridge gaps, and tidy over awkward situations. Oftentimes, people commit a faux pas and are overcome with embarrassment. As a spectator, the best way to help the person is by remaining quiet. Whenever you’re rendered speechless by a traumatic account or a horror tale, don’t resort to meaningless expressions of sympathy. Just a light touch and a lot of silence set in motion the healing process.
Make way for introspection
Life has its own quirks and you’re often riddled with doubts and overcome by confusion. That’s when you want to sort things out. At such times, there’s nothing like silence to help you do that. It helps you focus on what you need to without being distracted by asides. A walk in the woods, a walk away from the hustle and bustle always helps you think more clearly. In fact, it clears the brain and set your thoughts straight. A word of caution here- don’t confuse ‘the need for solitude with loneliness’. A sprinkle of stillness helps you get through the ‘noisy intrusions’. Needless to say, this is a great time for introspection and a good time to re-evaluate yourself.
Enjoy stillness every day
Silence, Stillness, solitude- all translate into tranquillity, peace, and serenity. So, you don’t have to go anywhere special to feel the bliss that silence brings. Just sit in the park, take a walk in the woods and enjoy the vast stillness around. If you’re at home, just turn off your smartphone, switch off your laptop, switch off the lights, and savor the quiet. In essence, just shut out the noise and lap up the stillness that emanates.
Sshhhh!!! Do listen carefully to the quiet echoes, revel in its all-enveloping absolute power. Silence is a great teacher, learn from it!