I Spent a Week in Silence, Here's What Happened
A few years ago, the idea of a silent retreat seemed like auditory torture. Today, it's at the top of my wish list.
Okay, I exaggerate. I didn't spend a whole week in silence, per say.
Silence is a funny thing. It has the power to restore the body and the mind, giving our brains a much needed break from the noisy world, but we are so resistant to seek it out. So, for a whole week, I turned off the car radio, shut off the music in my life, and got comfortable with silence.
The thing about silence, is that in this modern age, we're not so comfortable with it. No one is used to silence. The streets are noisy. We always have headphones in. Our cars blast music, audiobooks, and podcasts. Even our yoga classes often come with a pan flute soundtrack. So, when silence confronts us on a country night star gazing, or the day the radio gives out, we gravitate towards fear. Fear of what sounds will come next, and fear of what might materialize in ours heads through the silence. But, what if, we just carved out a little time every day to relish the quiet?
But, what if, we just carved out a little time every day to relish the quiet?
I gave silence a try. Here's what happened.
- Day One: My ears literally felt relief. I realized that my ears aren't so fond of constant bombardment of high decibels in traffic jams. They breathed a sigh of relief. (You know, if ears could breathe.)
- Day Two: I noticed new things. Without auto-pilot driving and getting lost in podcasts, I noticed more of my surroundings. Shop windows. Pedestrian outfits. Roadkill. Who knew I'd be sleep-driving my way through life?
- Day 3-5: My creativity increased. I was able to really dive into my creativity. Writing was easier and poetry came more naturally. The frustration of feeling stuck in artistic projects lessened. I conceived, shot, and edited a video poem in less than weekend. These are feats I couldn't accomplish before the silence. My brain was just too busy.
- Day 6: My memory improved. I didn't have to remind myself fifteen times where I needed to be the next day at 3:30, or what I had for breakfast. The general fog of my life was lifting.
- Day 7: I got comfortable with myself. Silence is scary. Being alone with your own thoughts can be terrifying. Luckily, day 7 was three hours of traffic, so me, myself, and I got some quality time together, to not just recognize my thoughts and feelings, but sit with them, get comfortable, and then move on.
It's hard to say if I'll go back to a busy life of headphones and podcast binges, because the silence gives me so much more than any noise I can imagine.
Do you spend some quiet time every day? Is finding and sitting with silence difficult for you? Any suggestion of fitting silence into your life? Tell me about it in the comments!