Silence: for the benefit of the soul and the body

... people are unhappy because of one thing: they cannot keep and stay calm and in silence.

Blaise Pascal, Thoughts [1]

 

Contemporary people are afraid of silence. We are accustomed to excessive stimuli, and life in noise does not seem to disturb us. But we deprive ourselves of access to the best source of power and inner calm.

 

 

The noise level with which we live today is so high that people living  100 year ago simply could not have imagined. Moreover, noise becomes more intensive every year. In big cities, noise during day time is on  the level of 70-80 decibels (dB) [2]. Every second Pole lives in more noise than  norms allow, i.e.,  60 dB per day and 50 at night [3]. Gradually we get accustomed to noise, since no other possibility exists.   And when we go for a trip to the country, the silence at night turns out to be disturbing – it often does prevent a sleep.

Noise is dangerous!

 

Medicine always warned that noise can be dangerous for our health. Especially to our hearing system. The direct effect is that we stop hearing lower sounds and we need still lauder stimuli for our ears. At the level of over 80dB our heating ability is permanently harmed. It occurs gradually and slowly,  it does not bring pain. We do not observe its negative consequences until it is too late and our hearing is damaged [4].

Sound waves are received not only via ears but also by the entire organism! Due to our anatomy and nervous connections sound stimuli exert influence on the hearing well as functions of a number of inner organs. Noise is most of all a source of strong stress and can cause many diseases  (e.g., hypertension, ulcers, nervous breakdowns) [5].

More consequences of noise are predicted and so far not known. Experiments have shown that weaker acoustic stimuli (55 – 75 dB) result in lack of concentration and lesser efficiency of work. From the level of 75 dB serious disturbances occur: tiredness, sleep disturbances,  depression,  circulatory and digestive systems disturbances. These effects cumulate in time; continuous exposition to noise is more dangerous than interrupted one, since our body is deprived of time necessary for regeneration. It is necessary to have a moment of silence once in a while in order to reduce acoustic stimuli and regenerate.

That noise is dangerous is also pointed out by experts on safety in work place but not only factories full of loud machinery are not safe for your ears. All of us are exposed to noise on everyday basis – e.g. traffic generates noise on the level of  80-90 dB. And it is particularly harmful for children. It has been proved in newborns that noise is responsible for problems when mother was exposed to noise during pregnancy; on the other hand older youth exposed to loud sounds in their surrounding often exhibit psychological  deficits and affected ability to read and comprehend.

 

Escape from silence

 

Noise makes harm not only to the body. Since the body and mind are interconnected, excess of sound stimuli impairs concentration and effective action. It is not an accident that while staying in a loud room we say: „I cannot hear my own thoughts”– we do not hear them indeed!

Not only effectiveness is involved. Life in permanent noise has also deeper, psychological consequences. It blocks concentration and attention both on present situation and true experiencing of every important moment in pour life. Just think how many stimuli reach you every day: one turns on the radio or TV and listens to the music while at the same time is working and spending time with relatives. Many say they feel uncomfortable alone at home without some sound in the background – it suffices that they hear something without paying attention to TV program; the sound of someone’s voice helps them feel safer. We are afraid of silence  – we do not want to stay alone with our own thoughts and feelings.

Excess of information reaching our every day via a variety of media makes us want to absorb as much as possible. We feel the need to be productive, to use up our time to maximum. That is why we try to do many things at a time: talk and drive; work and listen to new  music or internet podcasts. It gives us an illusion that we keep in touch with the world,  while in fact we only became  less concentrated. We are unable to absorb all the stimuli and are unable to appreciate music or listen with understanding.

Moreover, we feel a need from  the outside to confirm that our live has sense; we feel a need to keep contact touch with others – via a cellular telephone or social media. This compulsory need to be „connected” should be distinguished from a regular need to be in contact with people. It makes us lose energy and feel lost; we also need more and more outside stimuli:  loud and clear. We lose sensitivity, we are often nervous without a reason. We escape into noise, like one escapes into alcohol or drugs.

Although we do care about polluted air or food, we seem to ignore the fact that we  „pollute” our life with unnecessary sounds. And this is as harmful as breathing  smog in the city. Because of noise, the quality of our life becomes worse as we are expose to unnecessary noise and we suppress our nervousness, instead examining  its reasons. We deprive ourselves from a source of interior strength.

 

A moment of silence and meditation

 

How can one relieve oneself from  stress caused by everyday turmoil? Barbara Berger, the author of the book Odkryj w sobie siłę [6], recommends a few minutes per day for a personal contact with silence. She convinced us that silence is a source of  power; it lets us hear our interior voice, reach to a source of interior calm and creativity. We do not mean here only getting rid of tensions, but also achieving a new perspective on life and the world – staying in silence has a purpose: it allows access to wisdom and understanding of principles governing the Universe [7].

We mean here not only  meditation but  also practice similar to meditation. Meditation allows for access to pour deep ego, and next transcend its border and unite with God. It is a difficult gradual process. It takes many years to prepare for it. On the other hand, staying in silence does not require special exercises or preparations. It is a way to gain relieve from stress and inner tensions  as well as control on our own life. The benefits will come immediately, and in time we will experience a process of psychological change.

Silence resembles meditation as it initiates intuition, emotional recognition, and later innovative  ideas and discoveries. When we feel the burden of everyday problems and difficult choices, we must avoid speedy and chaotic search for solutions. Instead, you should sit back, relax and enjoy silence. Do not  panic. Quite likely the best solution will come naturally  – thanks to your  intuition. But you can here its voice only in silence.

 

10 minutes of silence

 

Spend  10 minutes per day in silence. Lock the door, turn the phone off; relax, enjoy silence and calmness; do not think about your problems. After a short while your brain will follow a certain direction  [8]. After 10 minutes return to your regular activity.

Such 10 minutes of silence is the Best way to  relax, to have a precious break in exposition to noise. Sit back in silence, as this will help you become aware of the present moment and appreciate it [9]. This is a basis of how to enjoy life.

Repeat this exercise every day. At first you may feel discomfort . In your brain thoughts will appear as this „I am sitting here, while so many things are waiting to be done” – you must get rid of such thoughts. [10]. You must overcome it. You will start to appreciate the richness of silence; perhaps you will decide to prolong your contact with it. Later it is a good idea to spend all afternoon or even all day in silence.

Your ability to concentrate will improve, you will learn more about your creativity and wisdom; and about yourself.  You will find that you can solve everyday problems more easily or perhaps you will feel a need to launch new creative activity. Silence offers not only power, but it also indicates best solutions. All great ideas and discoveries grow out of silence.

Let silence enrich your life.  10 minutes per day is so little but the difference is great.

Quote for today

Your body weight depends on your mind The mind is a key to solving the problem of obesity (or anorexia). (...) You will not be able to control your diet, overeating  (or anorexia), unless you are able to control the state of your mind. (s. 294)
Happiness Happiness is the  state of consciousness that can occur only during the processing of complex information. Thus, you wahe to develop your spirit and your senses – in  this way we can earn more possibilities to feel happiness. (s. 39)
Diet and health (…) do not stick to a strict diet – instead eat well. This will suffice zn – both for the healthy body and soul. (s. 244)
Rationality in work Work is well done when you do not feel exhausted with it after its completion (s. 117)
Desires of the mind The mind always desires something it cannot achieve. The more we possess, the more we feel deprived. (s. 287)
Care for the present time The past does not hide anything interesting. Release yourself from it and live in the present time. (s. 304)
Power of the mind We are not aware of the power of our minds, of our capabilities and that it needs only little will power to use them. All you have to do is use principle of concentration of power, i.e. learn how to distinguish import ant matters from trivial ones and  do not seek  problems where they do not exist. (s. 72)
Consciousness and health The body without consciousness is healthy.  Healthy consciousness transfers the disease to the body. (s. 262)
Eliminate stress (…) elimination of stress is equal to the process of recovery. (s. 50)
Love Only someone  filled with love lives to the fullest of live. Mind you, those in love are usually healthy Or even symptoms of diseases in them vanish. Love is the main basis of health. (s. 182)

Witold Bońkowski Foundation. The Power and Paradoxes of Our Minds.

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Unimaginable: The Power and Paradoxes of Our Minds deals with the unusual power of the mind. The fundamental motive of this book is trust in power and capabilities of the human mind in combating diseases, stress and worries.

Książka Niewyobrażalne. Potęga i paradoksy naszych umysłów