Silence and noise fascinate me.
I used to work with a manager who told me that as soon as she arrived home, she turned on the television in the background. Now people have TV, radio or other audio devices throughout their homes, and ear buds or headphones to provide sound wherever they go: on transport, while working, when jogging, even while supposedly spending time walking their dogs.
Silence is not empty for me and never has been. I appreciate sound of all types and volumes when in a receptive mood, but choice is important for me – I never select random musical playlists.
I find silence an essential daily restorative, especially when mental demands and stress levels are high.
As a teenager, my friends and I would spend most lunchtimes walking down the tree-lined avenue leading to Osterley Park, away from the noise of school. As a student, before seminars at St John’s Lodge, I would always wander around the Triton fountain in Regent’s Park’s Inner Circle, a haven of peace buried in central London. When loved ones have been sick or dying, I have sat with them in silence, astounded by the intensity of life itself.
So it fascinates me why so many people take every step possible to avoid silence.
Is it because we are likely to become more aware of ourselves as individuals and not just part of the faceless network consuming media and digital products during every waking moment of life?
I wonder how many people seek periods of silence on a regular basis.