How often do we get an opportunity to just sit and listen, I mean REALLY listen to the sounds around us?
Both C and I were sat out our respective desks in the study, going about our business when it suddenly hit my ears there there was silence. Neither of us were speaking. At the time neither of us was hammering our keyboards or frantically clicking a mouse. But then I noticed the non-silence which actually became quite loud.
I could hear the birds twittering in the back garden, as clear as a bell. The hum from the fan on C’s PC, continual hum. The wall clock ticking, so loudly too that it beggers belief that sometimes you barely notice it at all. There was an occasional mouse click as one or other of us scrolled up whatever it was we were reading on the screen. There was a throat clearing after a glug of water. There was a chair squeaking under the pressure of shifting weight. There was an airplane outside on its way to, or from, who knows where. There was pen scratching on paper as I was making notes. There was a belly rumble and an over emphasised exhalation.
Within the space of somewhere between 5 to 10 minutes there were all these sounds surrounding me, but there was silence. Peaceful, gratifying, restorative. All of these amazing sounds that I might have missed had the radio in the kitchen been on, or had I been hammering away at documents or emails, or people talking.
Silence can provide us with so many benefits if we choose to allow them into our lives.
It can allow us to concentrate and focus, which apparently can be lost if the sound is over 80 decibels. Obviously the writer of that point has never been to a #bellringing practice where concentration is required despite the noise of the bells.
It can allow our minds to be more creative. Some eminent scientists did their best creative work after a period of solitude and quietness.
It can allow us to discover how we may improve our lives when attention is given to self awareness practices. Taking time to self reflect can help figure out what and where we want to be.
It can help relax us and reduce stress levels if we allow a period of silence.
It can affect our ability to learn. The more noise we are exposed to the worse we perform and find it harder to concentrate.
Doing nothing and remaining silent can increase productivity of new brain cells, which in turn supports greater productivity as much as tenfold.
Silence can help cultivate calmness and peacefulness when you regularly practice silence and patience.
If you are able to, I invite you to sit somewhere comfortable and just be silent for even just a few moments. Make a note of all the things that you can hear in the silence. You’ll be surprised how much surround sound there is.