“Silence is the great teacher, and to learn its lessons, you must pay attention to it. There is no substitute for the creative inspiration, knowledge, and stability that come from knowing how to contact your core of inner silence.” – Deepak Chopra
“Silence is not the absence of something but the presence of everything.” ~Gordon Hempton
Let’s face it, we live in a busy and ever-present dull background of noise and distraction, and so, when I think about writing a post about silence, I hesitate to say too much.
Apparently the quietest place on earth is at the anechoic chamber at Orfield Laboratories in Minnesota. If a soft whisper is measured at 20 decibel’s, the anechoic chamber is 1/16th of that. It is the Guinness World Record’s quietest place on earth.
This small dark room, is massively insulated with layers of concrete and steel to block out exterior sources of noise, and ironically those who enter this silence, find it far from peaceful. In fact, most people find its silence very disturbing.
So why is silence so disturbing and difficult for us to be in?
Apparently, being deprived of the usual reassuring ambient sounds of life, can induce fear – and can explain why sensory deprivation is a form of torture. Astronauts do part of their training in anechoic chambers at Nasa, so they can learn to cope with the silence of space. The presence of sound means things are working; it’s business as usual – and so when sound is absent, it signals to our brain there is a malfunction.
This helps me understand why we tend to avoid silence and why life continues to offer distraction and noise to keep avoiding it. But in doing so, we miss all the amazing benefits that silence offers.
Sitting in silence is definitely a practice and for me it has broadened my perspective and helped me monitor my thoughts in order to understand myself and my life more deeply. Silence has brought immense peace to my everyday life, helping me embrace patience and mindfulness toward myself and others.
Shhhhh. You might be surprised what you hear.