Silence

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Introduction

I wrote before about silence in these two posts:

I decided to make a page of these two posts to be linked from learning- psychology.

Index

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Elisabeth of trinity about silence

I read years ago about Silence and the importance of it in Andliga skrifter” page 122 from Elisabeth of Trinity a Carmelitan sister living in France at the end of Ninetheenth century. It is remarcable that this sister, who was a talented pianist as a young girl became the “Messenger of the Silence”.

Her vocation was simply prayer, silence, and suffering, “because our Lord lives in our soul, His prayer dwells within us and it is there I want to abide without ceasing, as a little vase at the source and fountain of life” 

“Prayer, solitude, praise of glory, silence of the mind and heart are, as many biblical values, dear to Eastern Monasticism, and they culminate in “Esychia” (hence hesychism), that is interior quietude and serenity of the soul which has emigrated to God and found its peace in Him

To be with God, Elizabeth sought silence and solitude. “

“‘I so long for Him!’ wrote Elizabeth, ‘He creates a great void in my soul that only He can fill, and to do that He leads me into deep silence from which I should like never to emerge”

( Source: www.quies.org )

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Sufi about silence

Sufi ask you to listen. But they really do not request silence to hear the voice as Rumi said. Maybe it is more about a inner silence, because music is part of Sufi spiritual meditation.

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Silence in churches?

in my opinion a church should be the house of God, a place of silence.

In Italian catholic churches on Lipari there is no silence at all, before mass. It is like being at a theater were people talk loudly before the spectacle starts. And you can buy lottery tickets to win statues you can adore at home.

This was not so in the Catholic church Kristus Konungen in Göteborg. Italians seems not to talk with God or pray in the Churches. During weekdays you can however find peace and silence in churches as there is no people.

In Sweden I looked for silence now and then in Lutheran churches. But most Lutheran churches in Sweden are closed when there is no mass. When I were in Visby I found however the Dome open. This is a video of its interior. Raise the volume and listen if you hear something. Do not worry. No stupid sound jokes.

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Science about Silence

The importance of Silence is now more and more recognized scientifically.

On my trip to Göteborg 2019  I found a article in Swedish about Silence in the train www.sj.se Magazine by Erica  Jakobson with the title

“Silence – I try to live!”

 

 Erica informs in her article about recent research about silence.

  1. Two hours silence each day hel develop nerve cells in Hypocampus, the part of the brain that deals with memories, feelings and learning. This is the conclusion of a American research goroup after experimens with adult mice exposed to noice and silence.
  2. Another study organized by WHO and the EU-commission has found that lo levels of noice increases stress hormone levels,  decreased learning hability and even hearth failure.

Victoria Palm grounder of OAS says :

“We know that people restore while sleeping but never thinks about relax during the day. In a world where we are constantly exposed to stimuli, is it impossible for the brain to restore energy.

I were surprised that there were department in the train wagons were people are informed that it is a silent department.

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A italian article about silence translated

I found a good article about silence in La Republica Dossier 13/7 2019. here is a translation I made of this italian article:

The World Health Organization has defined noise pollution a “modern plague” because “there is indisputable evidence that exposure to environmental noise has negative effects on the health of the population”.

The human being needs silence to live well. Silence has become a rarity tin our increasingly noisy  cities. In the Western world we run away from the noise ,wearing a noise canceling headphones or participating at yoga meditation sessions. 

In India,  the population went to the streets to demand the right to silence, against honking cars and motorbikes. 

Meanwhile, the technology is studying and putting devices on the market to soundproof environments taking advantage of the wireless vibration, but also bracelets that replicate the heartbeat to remove stress from the brain, caused by the surrounding noise. 

A ingenious publicity tourism office in Finland to attract tourists to Finland with slogans about silence, depicting views of unspoiled nature. It is the same principle that inspired the Benedictine monks of Pluscarden Abbey, Scotland, to open the doors of the convent, which dates from the thirteenth century, to anyone who wants to spend a few nights (or months) in complete tranquility. 

The silence, in short, has become a business. 

This business grows with the  noise of the cities. depicting views of silent nature.  The silence, in short, has become a business.

Repubblica talked with ALESSANDRA FRIGERIO, PSYCHOLOGIST WITH a PhD in cognitive and clinical social psychology, is a professor at the University of Milano-Bicocca and the Sigmund Freud University.
“In the hyper-connected world and in the noisy society we live in, is there really an increased demand for silence?”
AF:There is a high quest to get to silence. These requests are answered, for example  in meditation classes, yoga retreats, relaxing drive.”
“However, there are ways to live the silence, that allow access to its own needs through structures and standardized methodologies, like e.g. silent fast food.”

What can  silence be?

AF: “People often perceive it is repressed by silence, because silence can represent a heavy experience.  Be in silence means dealing with an apparent void, with a series of enigmatic aspects of unresolved questions.  Our tendency is therefore  to fill the silence with noise (ed. music e.g. in stores, bars or on the beach) or repetitive meaningless talking. Silence confront us with the limits of language. It is the space of the unspoken, what we fail to express with words.!”

Effects on mental well-being

AF:In the past, many psychologists have shown that silence serves to foster creativity. The brain cells regenerate and, in the hippocampus area a development of new cells that can become neurons is made possible that help boost memory and learning. “

silence is essential for the healthy development of a child?

AF: “In this regard, silence is essential for the healthy development of a child. A parent who knows how to give the silence, as well as the words, shows the child the significance of absence, which is as important as the presence. In addition, leave the child in an empty space, in the silence, where even you can get bored, so need to be able to feed their own creativity.  In other words, an agenda full of commitments is often counterproductive”

Silence in clinical practice 

AF:Silence for a psychologist or a psychoanalyst is an integral part of the instrumentation. The therapist is mostly silent because it leaves the patient an area of ​​freedom. Thus permitting a chain of speeches, to get rid of the words, beyond the constraints of consistency, morality, rational logic. The silent listening allows the patient to be a able auto-listener, grasping the implications of his own words. Sometimes the analyst’s silence is for those who do not an”swers at  a patient’s questions. It does so because it avoids influencing the individual with his judgment and to avoid being pedagogical. Silence, in this case, is to return the patient’s own question,  to find the best solution.

Silent zones in India. 

India has  silent zones that are comparable to the C zones in the center of Milan that prohibit cars to circulate. The difference is that in India  the traffic ban was not raised against smog and air pollution, but against noise. 
It all started a few years ago in the chaotic Mumbai, where a group of activists began to demonstrate for the right to peace. The reason is that the average decibel level in Mumbai is more than 80, while the World Health Organization indicates it should not exceed the maximum threshold of 65 decibels by day and 40 at night.

So the Mumbai High Court ruled the noise absolute prohibition in a radius of at least 100 meters around hospitals, schools, courts, parks, public buildings, libraries and universities.

Read more in La Republica Dossier 13/7 2019

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Silence on the island of Lipari

The silence has partly abandoned Lipari. Donkeys have disappeared and cars and motorbikes have take over on the roads. Police does not care about the noise that some cause with their scooters and motorbykes. Happily July is the month of silence. You are not allowed to run building machines during that month probably to protect the tourists that come to the island on that month. But for those that are unlucky to live in the village near a bar you may not be able to sleep at all from the evening at 10, until morning at 4-5 the next day. The night,  summer time is party time on Lipari with musicians playing all the evenings, a Eden for youth that prefer to sleep during the day. 

But there are many opportunities to enjoy silence on the island anyway.  In the early mornings or if you make trekking in the valleys you find a incredibly relaxing silence.

If you come to Lipari and you want silence, I recommend not to stay in the village of Lipari in July and August but instead find rooms outside like in the smaller villages like Pianoconte, Quattropani or Acquacalda. E.g. hotel Cutimare in Acquacalda on the north part of the Island is probably a  good choice. there is only one road that has little or no traffic, one little bar and at a distance, one restaurant.Conclusion

It is very difficult to explain to people why silence now and then is important. Music is for some also a way to approach God, like Morgan Freeman talks about in his youtube documentary about God. (NB. the video has been removed from youtube has it violated some copyrights)

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Conclusion

I definitively prefer to live on Lipari. Fortunenately my house is outside the village so I really enjoy the dark and silent nights and the early silent mornings. Sometimes there are dogs barking. But I can stand that.

 

A agnostic pluralist seeker

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