The world is a loud place. There are hardly any times when you and I are not listening to man-made sounds. I don’t know how you rebel, but I unconsciously get irritable and cranky in too much noise.
As a hideaway, I go for a solitary walk in the park 3–4 times a week at the odd hour of 3:30 in the afternoon. For the half-hour I am there, the only sounds I hear are the chirping of the birds, the rustling of the leaves, or the dances of the wind.
As much as I love living in company, I detest the constant chaos in sound it brings along. Earlier, when I spent my days alone, I cherished the continuous quietude I was able to behold: no mindless chatter, no TV, no radio, just pure bliss.
I find this astonishing because I used to despise silence so much that I never used to shut the TV, even if I am not watching it. The walks at that time would be accompanied by stale music that didn’t need to be heard over and over.
I am here to vouch for spending some uncomfortable hours alone without any noise until you love quiet as much as I do. It is not just because silence will give room to creativity, lower blood pressure, or benefit your hippocampus, but because you’ll possess a commodity too rare in today’s screen-run Earth: the ability to be in deep silence.
Deep silence is not just the absence of external noise, but of internal chatter as well. It is an unaffected stillness devoid of time, deadlines, or goals. It is the ability to be consciously in just one place: here, now, this moment. It is the pause between impulsive distractions and deep focus. Deep silence is a cognitive currency that repays its owner.
Slowly, quiet will penetrate into all aspects of a whole life. There’ll be no need to hurry and yet everything will get done. There’ll be 24*7 happiness, but a meditative peace, even in the hardest of times. Shared, comfortable, joyful silences with loved ones will be commonplace. Mostly, there’ll be no fear of being left alone, in one’s own company, in humongous silence — it’ll be something to look forward to.
It doesn’t have to be something too big, you know. You don’t have to meditate for an hour every day (although if you find the time, that’ll be the best use of your hour). You don’t have to go on the media fast or show some tough love to yourself. None of those significant changes are sustainable enough to last a lifetime.
What to do instead is incorporate pockets of silence, even as short as 5 minutes counts. Take a breather in-between meetings instead of scrolling. If you experience an afternoon slump like me, go for a walk around the block. Meet a friend and agree to share a mutual silence. Hurry less. Immerse in any creative hobby that takes you in a flow (you don’t have to be good at it). When you do household chores, do them with mindful care.
Lastly, ask your living inmates (both external and internal) to shush once in a while.