The Noise in Our Heads

(Contributed by Mitch Greene)

How many times have you experienced silence in the past year?

Got a number in your head? Okay, now take out the time you are not awake. Now take out any time when there is background noise like the TV, your family talking, music or the sound of your own movement. Okay, now you are down to very few moments. Lastly, exclude the time when you have any thoughts you have about the past, the future or anything happening in any place other than right where you are. This leaves you with what? Very little or possibly nothing at all. There may not be a time on any given day where your mind was not consciously involved in some way.

Our brains are always so occupied with something. We always have the TV or music playing. We are having a conversation, or maybe we have a podcast playing. We’re working on a project, doing chores, driving somewhere, and so on. There’s always something filling the void in our thoughts.

I feel that some of us do this so that we can avoid this outer silence. We know that the second the noise on the outside stops, the noise on the inside picks up. It feels as if we are flooded with thoughts. We drown in our own heads. The million things we have to do or everything that’s going on in the world around us. It gets so loud that it becomes overwhelming. So, we avoid it, by filling the space. Most of us don’t want to be alone, in silence, with our own thoughts. It’s almost as though we’re afraid of the silence.  Maybe it will expose us to ourselves in ways we don’t want to face. So we just keep our minds busy.

But what if, occasionally, we let our brain go wild. Take out all other noise and be left alone with our thoughts in complete, uninterrupted silence. Take a second to think only about what is going on with you in that moment of silence. You’re breathing. Your muscles relaxed – particularly your face. Your emotions settling down.

It feels pretty nice to be truly aware of being alive.  And that often comes into our awareness only in the silence.