Recent studies are showing that taking time for silence restores the nervous system, helps sustain energy, and conditions our minds to be more adaptive and responsive to the complex environments in which so many of us now live, work, and lead.

In a modern society that’s so often intolerably loud and busy, “silence is a resource.” Indeed, it’s a rare resource.

It’s this line of research that hatched the 1960s-era notion of “noise pollution,” a name that implicitly reframes transitory noises as toxic and long-lasting. Sustained background noise has even been linked to high blood pressure, increased rates of sleep loss, heart disease, and tinnitus.

Even relaxing “noise” in the form of music isn’t as powerful as two minutes of silence, as physician Luciano Bernardi found in a 2006 study. 

 

In recent years, researchers have highlighted the peculiar power of silence to calm our bodies, turn up the volume on our inner thoughts, and attune our connection to the world.

A 2013 Duke University study by regenerative biologist Imke Kirste, suggests that silence has the potential to be used as a treatment for dementia and depression.

In 2013, in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Joseph Moran and colleagues wrote during the time when the brain rests quietly, they integrate external and internal information into “a conscious workspace.”

“Freedom from noise and goal-directed tasks, it appears, unites the quiet without and within, allowing our conscious workspace to do its thing, to weave ourselves into the world, to discover where we fit in. That’s the power of silence.”

But cultivating silence isn’t just about removing sound.

The kind of silence we’re talking about necessitates

quieting inner chatter as well as outer.

The rub is that quieting your mind is easier said than done. No one can do it for you. And it doesn’t happen all by itself. It’s a skill you have to practice and cultivate.

We can teach you how

I can’t even count how many students tell me, after a guided meditation, that it was the first time they were able to quiet their minds.

My approach is simple: silence is everywhere. It’s just covered up by other sounds. So it’s just a matter of listening beyond the layers of sound that you can consciously hear to the silence behind them.

 

You may need a guide the first time or two…or twenty. It’s like wandering through a wild jungle, hacking your way through the brambles, creating a path that has never before been trodden.

But the more often you tread this path, the easier it becomes. The fewer weeds are in your way. And the more familiar that pathway becomes. And you develop the ability to access silence whenever you want. That quietness permeates your entire being connecting you to an inner stillness that is the essence of peace.

So give yourself the gift of quiet and watch the magic happen.

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