It is nearly impossible to escape from noise, especially in the city. Growing up in Chicago, there is constant background noise.
I remember a trip to the open country as a child when I first discovered silence. One could actually hear insects fly. A lone car could be heard from a mile away.
Audio noise is minimal when compared with visual noise. A great portion of visual noise comes via electronic screens like phones, computers, etc.
Our minds can buzz with thought noise-- the overwhelming stream of mental activity that moves through our brains, much of which may be very unproductive.
Silence has been described as unproductive, wasteful, and boring. But silence can become a friend--especially when we acquire a taste for it. To acquire that taste, one needs to experience silence--but where and how? The best access may be the practice of some form of Meditation.
I learned to meditate a while ago in a busy Temple in Chinatown, Chicago. Here, I was introduced to the following basic instructions on how to meditate:
"breathe deeply from your diaphragm ;
sit still and concentrate on your breath;
let your thoughts come and go".
It was rarely quiet in the Temple, with tourists and the faithful coming and going, but somehow, after much practice, my mind became silent and I discovered that silence is golden.
I have practiced meditation now for only 15 years and one of the most important lessons that I have learned is that peace does not come from working and striving harder-- it comes from letting go.
A very helpful book that I recommend on how to meditate is "The Miracle of Mindfulness", by Thich Nhat Hanh.
I encourage you to learn and practice meditation and you too will find that silence is golden so mine for the gold within.
For more information about Mary Ann Dier Zimmerman, LCPC, click here.
Originally published October 1, 2018