Silence is a Great Peacemaker
“Silence is a great peacemaker” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
For the ancients winter and the passing of the old year signaled a time to slow down, a time for quiet reflection. Those days are clearly over. In fact, the reality of modern life is that this time of the year represents for many, the busiest of the year. The list of year-end to-dos seems to get larger every year.
Another “casualty” of modern life is quiet.
Amidst the cacophony of traffic, city noise, giant screen TVs, digital devices and the increasing noise pollution in our workplaces, quiet is becoming a precious commodity in the 21st century.
So rare is real silence that many people cannot even tolerate it. The void of silence must be filled with sound to keep ourselves from ourselves.
Research shows that chronic lack of quiet can interfere with sleep, limit learning, trigger impatience and suppress immunity.
Taking in the advice of doctors, neuroscientists, acoustic engineers, monks, educators and aggrieved citizens, George Prochnik, author of In Pursuit of Silence: Listening for Meaning in a World of Noise, writes, “We’re never going to make progress toward creating a quieter world until we learn to understand our secret love affair with noise. Part of what we have to recognize is that noise is a compelling stimulant. This noise-high can be addictive and adding your own din into the mix can become a way of exerting control. Stepping back from all the stimulation is not easy, but it can be done.”
So as we bring this year to a close, consider stopping the action and asking yourself:
“How much quiet time exists now in my life?”
“What is the value of quiet in my life?”
“How much quiet time do I want in my life?”
There is a healing power in the quiet. Silence can reveal an abundance of riches if we give it a chance to do its work.
An air of quiet silence
It can blow
Forever and ever
And let me enjoy
A wonderful life
I can give shape
To my imagination
And can open doors
Before it even knocks
On my door.
Seema Chowdhury, Author
At this time of year I always return to the words of the late poet, John O’Donohue whose lyrical writings often spoke of the power of silence to ease the mind, soothe the heart and restore the body. The end of the year is a perfect time to ease our grip on tasks and achieving outcomes and as John wrote, “As the desire that drove you has relinquished, there is nothing to do now but rest and patiently learn to receive the self.”
May the last days of the old year be gentle, restorative and filled with peace…….
Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment, subscribe, share, like and tweet this article. It’s appreciated.
Louise Altman, Partner, Intentional Communication Consultants
This article is derived from two earlier posts you may like: The Power of Quiet and Silence & a Blessing for One Who is Exhausted Also here is a reading from the exquisite work of John O’Donohue – his poem Beannacht
photo: Kent Shiraishi