Silence is the music of the soul, the voice of the heart that reaches where words are useless, the place where we can listen to our inner guidance.
Lao Tzu wrote: „Silence is a source of great strength.“ It is linked to an inner strength that, over time, should be nurtured more and more, to resist the external din and preserve a peaceful heart and a perpetual state of awareness. The word ’strength‘ could be coupled with the word ‚courage‘.
Talking about silence is a bit like explaining a poem. It is a gift we should give ourselves, a break from all that surrounds us, but above all the chance to become witnesses to our thoughts and our interiority, that „moment of recollection during which we allow ourselves to do only one thing: listen.
We are not doing much for the world. According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, man has destroyed over 30% of the forests and the marine ecosystem since 1970. The destruction has been an unintended consequence of population growth, the desire to increase material wealth and comfort, and the resulting need for more energy.
But we are not only doing this to our world.
We are also doing the same to our mind. The destruction of our inner self through the wired world is an even more recent phenomenon. The loss of slowness, of time for reflection and contemplation, of privacy and solitude, of silence, of the ability to sit quietly in a chair for fifteen minutes without external stimuli, is threatening the very concept of our humanity.
Silence is a real treasure that we carelessly neglect, except to stuff ourselves with pills to quell anxiety; two lines on the value of silence. The mind reacts to external stimuli: environment, sounds, smells, visions, and the only way to ‚put the engine idling‘, to use automotive terms, is the act of tuning out and thus shutting out the senses.
In 2016, journalist Andrew Sullivan published an article in New York Magazine entitled I used to be a human being. The subtitle was: „A constant bombardment of news, gossip and images has made us frantically addicted to information. I am broken and it could happen to you too.“
Today we are dealing with a real ‚feedback addiction‘, where attention and concentration are on the razor’s edge. Cal Newport, a lecturer at Georgetown University, writes in his book Digital Minimalism „The issue is the general impact of being surrounded by so many different shiny trinkets that insistently call our attention and manipulate our mood.“ We are so surrounded and immersed that „the irresistible attraction to the screen leads people to feel that they are increasingly losing their autonomy in choosing where to direct their attention.“
Yay for ’silence‘, a very useful, free and fearless ‚weapon‘ that also frees one from the noise of this ever-running world.