Silence: Deafening or Delightful?

Think about the last time you listened to silence – real silence. What did you hear? Could you feel the weight of “deafening” silence? Or, did you enjoy the break from the noise pollution of daily life? Though silence is defined as the complete absence of sound, can anything ever be truly silent? It’s hard to think of a time when one has been subjected to complete silence. There’s actually a room, an anechoic chamber, in the U.S Orfield Laboratories that is 99.99% free of sound. The longest anyone has been able to stay in the room is 45 minutes. We are so used to our own version of “silence” that true silence is terrifying to some.

“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.”
-Mother Teresa

“True silence is the rest of the mind; it is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment.”
-William Penn

“Accustomed to the veneer of noise, to the shibboleths of promotion, public relations, and market research, society is suspicious of those who value silence.”
-John Lahr

“I have often lamented that we cannot close our ears with as much ease as we can our eyes.”
-Richard Steele

“The silence depressed me. It wasn’t the silence of silence. It was my own silence.”
-Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

“Silence is more musical than any song.”
-Christina Rossetti

“If you can’t get quiet enough to hear yourself, your life is too loud.”
-Terri Guillemets

“Let us be silent, that we may hear the whispers of the gods.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Her hearing was keener than his, and she heard silences he was unaware of.”
-D.M. Thomas

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