Sometimes hearing takes place without listening...
If you are a parent, you might relate. You tell your kids to brush their teeth. They say OK, so you know they heard you, but you have to repeat it in escalating vocal tones until you are at 10 and then they say, "I heard you, you don't have to yell!"
So yes, their sense organs, function but this did not translate into listening. Sometimes as a yoga teacher, I give directions 3 or 4 times. I know I verbalized them, but somehow, they are not being followed.
Segway to the expression "red flag," which deserves honorable mention here as well. You know those times when your instincts are whispering (or screaming) at you to buy those stocks, fire employee x, dump Mr. Wrong.... and what attention do you pay?
Well, you don't. Why is this? Noise surrounds us and then penetrates us until our minds are speeding faster than a tweet. Silence is a visitor when we sleep, and, unless our dreams are active, then we don't wake up rested.
We need to carve out time for silence as a practice to reap its rewards.
Now, I am not anti-music or talking! I am just pro-silence. Here are 10 reasons why:
1. Silence fosters creativity.
New ideas are not found in a brain juggling a gazillion thoughts. An over-worked brain just leads to thinking within the box, and confusion. When the mind is still, there is no box. Inspiration floats in this freedom.
2. Silence builds confidence.
If you go mindfully and give yourself time to trust your instincts and listen to your own voice, you empower yourself. The "shoulds" of a noisy brain are distracting you from being in charge of yourself.
3. Silence rests the brain and body.
Growth hormones and endorphins circulate and percolate in deep, dreamless sleep, meditation, and these are silent states. Your body does not use words to heal from injury, DNA knows what to do. It got you this far.
4. Silence invites "being."
We are called human beings not human doings. We are active enough; let's balance it out.
5. Silence anchors us to the present.
Life is chaotic enough. Feed the stressful thoughts and they will grow. Nourish a silent inner core and you will be resilient through tough times, peace will guide your attitude.
6. Silence is your BFF.
You get to know your Self, get in touch with your own emotions. You don't have to wear a mask in silence. Pretty relaxing.
7. Silence promotes listening.
A good listener hears you and "sees" you through the ears. It is a compassionate understanding that starts with the self, and then builds healthier relationships.
8. Silence is your GPS.
Answers to all your questions are found in the light of silence. If you are too busy talking and thinking a mile a minute, you will only feel lost.
How to do this?
I realize it's hard when you live with people. You may have to get them onboard. Can you start with a 3 to 5 minute plan?
Sit quietly, breathe softly and give your breath all your attention, do not generously follow thoughts or emotions, follow the stillness. Or, take a walk in nature with no music for the first 3-5 minutes. Or during your commute, avoid turning on the car radio for the first 3-5 minutes. When you wake up, do your morning routine to the tune of your heartbeat.
Try this for one week. See what grows, and let me know!