“Quietly, wisely, silence makes a case for dumbing the din of modern life and learning to listen again” Robert Macfarlane
I used to find silence disconcerting. It was a void that I needed to fill with noise – chattering or radio or – well, anything really. I could not go running unless I had my earphones firmly plugged in, delivering sounds that distracted or directed my thoughts. However, since I discovered the beauty of silence and the benefits it can bring, I run now without the earphones, especially early in the day or in remote places, where silence affords me the space to appreciate what is around me. There, silence is my welcome companion, refuelling my mind while I observe and appreciate the world as it is, undistracted by a superimposed layer of sound.
Explorer, Erling Kagge calls this to ‘listen to the great nothing’ and has recently written a fascinating book – Silence, In The Age of Noise – in which he explains the experience of shutting out the world. It opens up your thoughts and lets you see the world more clearly – ‘trying to love your life’. He quotes an old Norwegian saying ‘it is not how you are but what you make of things’.
Of course, you don’t have to be a runner to benefit from the sound of silence. At home, for example, before and after a busy noisy day, you can create some calm by being silent – shunning the radio, TV and the internet for a while – to create quiet space for your mind to rest and recharge.
And for those that want to take it a step further check out a clip from Nicolas Provost’s silent film Exodus.
Is silence your friend? I’d suggest it is a powerful friend and ally and well worth courting.
Here’s to our new BF – silence.
NB in contrast, next month’s blog will be all about when not to be silent.
Rachel is a business & educational psychologist. After working for many years in and advising SMEs her current work relates to issues of communication, personal development, team building and motivation. Over the past seven years Rachel has extended her work into the educational field.