I’ve begun to realize that you can listen to silence and learn from it. It has a quality and a dimension all its own.
– Chaim Potok, The Chosen
Even before you start reading this, I will ask you to do one little thing. Switch off all devices producing any form of sound if you can, and try to stay in absolute silence for a few seconds. Put away the device you’re reading this on and just listen… listen to the silence.
Intriguing, right? Did you just realize that there are so many sounds around us on a daily basis, and yet, we fail to listen to them? The truth is, there can never be absolute silence, at least not as long as life exists. Silence is somewhat related to darkness, neither of them exists of its own. You might be wondering “Eh, what? but darkness exists, if I go out of my home at 2 am, it is dark around”. Well, darkness is not an entity on its own. It’s just the absence of illumination. Same is the concept with silence, it is the absence of any sound, melody or noise. By now, you must be wondering what is the point of this post, like, what am I even trying to tell you through silence?
You see, in our course of life, our brain gets trained to hear those sounds only which we need, like the ring of your smartphone, the horn of a vehicle, human communications, etc. But apart from these sounds, there are millions of other sounds around us, which, although we hear, our brain doesn’t perceive them as to our brain, those sounds are not of much importance. And this is where mother nature hides her beauty. Just cut off all non-natural sources of sound and you will be left with this unexplored set of sounds around. Now, try to listen to them one by one, try to observe them. These sounds… these are the sounds of life around you.
You love to listen to music, right? A great composer, John Cage, had composed one of the greatest musical creations, 4’33” (pronounced as Four minutes, thirty-three seconds). Now, music is about notes… a sequence of notes synced together in harmony to soothe the ears of the listener. But this composition is formed from absolutely nothing. Yeah, that’s right, it has no sound in it. It is just silence for 4 minutes and 33 seconds. This composition was premiered at Maverick Concert Hall, which is an open concert hall, meaning that it’s right in the middle of nature with no walls. So, the audience sat there and for all those minutes and seconds, they did hear the greatest symphony ever – the symphony of nature. Birds chirping around, the rustling of leaves, the breaking of branches when a squirrel walked over it, and such.
Another advantage of silence is that it makes you realize your self. When there is silence, there is no noise to distract your brain. Thus, you can use your full concentration. Now, if you start looking for answers to any thought in this state, your entire concentration is spent on looking for that one answer. And when you start finding answers about your self, you start discovering your self. An Anechoic Chamber can practically teach you the importance of your own heartbeat. For those of you who don’t know, an Anechoic Chamber is a specially designed chamber with foam wedged walls that reduces echo to the maximum, in here you can get almost absolute silence. Now, if you spend some time in such a chamber, with a total absence of sound, your mind will gradually start shifting towards the lower decibel perception. It will keep getting lower and lower to a point when you can hear your own heartbeat and also the blood flowing through the arteries. Now, just imagine the situation, you’re in a dark room, hearing your own heartbeat only. This very moment, this very lub-dub brings the essence of being alive!
Never miss a good chance to shut up!
– Will Rogers