The old song by Simon and Garfunkel was so right. Silence really is golden, but maybe in more ways than we realise. In our urban, busy world we don’t get enough outer silence. There’s always the sound of traffic, TVs, other people in their apartments, and the general buzz of the city as we go about our daily business. These days we have to hunt out the quiet spaces, but they are there as I discovered just the other day.
As I’m selling my apartment we have the bi-weekly ritual of having to go out with the dog for 45 minutes during house viewing and find somewhere to be. As my dog is a bit old and grumpy (he’s 85 in human years) we try to seek out places that avoid other dogs and small children, which is hard in a café obsessed beachside suburb of Sydney. As we took a walk up the road we discovered a small nature reserve that has been recently restored. Pristine bush tucked away in the city, green, tranquil and no sound. That’s bliss.
But most times nowadays we have to either travel out of town or wake up super early to catch the stillness we all need. I enjoy getting up and meditating at 5am before the streets around me get busy. But whatever you do, try finding some “outer” silence. Increasingly, scientists are showing that noise pollution can slowly erode the quality of life and actually be harmful to our health, with some studies suggesting a link between noise and heart health. Certainly medical evidence is increasingly suggesting that there are significant benefits of being in silence including that silence:
- Boosts your immune system
- Lowers blood pressure
- Reduces stress hormones e.g. cortisol
- Helps hormone regulation
- Keeps your brain healthy
But there is another silence we can access if we cultivate it and that’s “inner” silence that comes when we meditate. It’s a deep quiet calm space that resides in each of us and if we take the time through meditation we can engage with it, use it to help ground us, and release our stress. In the “inner silence” we can just be in the present moment, accepting everything just as it is, and connecting more deeply with ourselves. It’s a time when we can experience that we are greater than our ego and put aside our over-active monkey mind. This makes this time an opportunity for rejuvenation, self-compassion, and connection. And from that the senses of connection leads to more compassion towards others and the whole world.
So in your busy, noisy day try to carve out some time for both outer and inner silence. This well help you to reconnect, refresh, and renew your sense of well-being. See if you can hunt down those quiet secret spaces in your local neighbourhood and spend some time there. And for your inner silence try vispassana meditation or some qigong practice. Whatever form of silence you can cultivate, embrace it, love it, and know that silence truly is golden for your well-being.