Silence: More Than Golden
“True silence is the rest of the mind and the spirit, what sleep is to the body–nourishment and refreshment.” ~William Penn
In our digital age of gadgets, thingamabobs and whatchamacallits we are swimming in a sea of the sensory.
And we are in overload. Drowning.
Bombarded every second of the day with emails, news, social media, video streaming, we are only a touch, click or swipe away from any random interest, curiosity, or fear.
Message alerts rule our lives and we respond to different dings, rings and chirps like Pavlov’s dogs, reaching for our phones, interrupting conversations and sending our fingers into a frenzy of fevered response.
We have endless choices about where we direct our attention, but with so many choices, we are slowly losing our ability to choose wisely.
I often sit down to watch something in the evening and scroll through choices on the various services available to me, Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc.
Lately, having already watched anything of real substance during our extended time of confinement, after 15 minutes of endless searching I am usually exhausted and just turn the damn TV off.
So many choices. Too many choices. My brain shuts down.
And that’s the point. We were not built to sustain this level of constant bombardment and its accompanying anxiety.
We crave quiet.
Our brains need silence, emotionally, like our bodies need water physically.
Research shows that it’s critical to our well-being. It not only offers a time to unplug, reflect and recharge, it builds better brain cells.
And now, more than any time I can remember, silence is harder to come by. But it’s also critical to carve out time for it, because it won’t happen otherwise.
Even if it’s only five minutes once a day, take a silence pill like you do your vitamins every morning.
Novelist Thomas Carlyle first coined the phrase “silence is golden” in 1848. He was referring to the virtue of “holding one’s tongue.” (He didn’t own a cell phone or TV—he had more time to think about things.)
More than 150 years later, I wonder if silence isn’t even more valuable—and vital.
Perhaps, as Chet Raymo wrote in his book, Skeptics and True Believers, “silence is the element in which great things fashion themselves together.”
And wouldn’t that be nice.
“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