“Why are we embarrassed by silence? What comfort do we find with all of the noise?”
–Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie
I’ve pondered the above quote for many years. In moments of introspection, I find that I have to ask myself, “when was the last time I allowed some silence into my life?” It’s hard to avoid all noise, but, in a way, silence can be relative. The tipping point for silence seems to be when a moment of vulnerability occurs that can be defeated with distracting, louder activities. I’ve seen noise used to avoid feelings of being alone, as a lonely evening with a TV or radio. For others, it may be a distraction from emotional responses like sadness or fear, or even physical feelings like tiredness or hunger.
“when was the last time I allowed some silence into my life?”
Noise can come in the form of an electronic device, a person or even a crowd. I’ve been in numerous group discussions where a question was asked, and someone said something, anything, just because they stated that they couldn’t let it stay silent for that long. I used to agree with that reaction, but now I think, why not?
Silence can be a vessel upon which you gain knowledge and wisdom
The point is, while silence isn’t a way to live life, and there isn’t a standard as to how much silence you need to feed your peace and happiness, silence can be a vessel upon which you gain knowledge and wisdom. Talking, listening, and reading are all ways to gain knowledge and understanding, but silence can provide a glorious opportunity when the meaning of the knowledge or wisdom may fully come to you. At least, this has been the case for me and many others.
The value of a quiet moment can be invigorating
Silence can also be misused, such as when one spouse gives the other the cold shoulder or if a person is “stonewalling.” These methods usually creates friction and are usually not helpful. In the attitude of processing information, gaining wisdom, or simply to get away from the noise as a breath of fresh air, the value of a quiet moment can be invigorating and provide a necessary, soul-searching occasion.
A quest for peace doesn’t require much, in some ways all it takes is a process of learning. In my experience, silence adds to that process in ways noise never can, and my discomfort has faded and replaced with a new welcome feeling.