and the vision that was planted in my brain / still remains / within the sound of silence
There’s a reason why we don’t like silence. It’s scary to be left to our own thoughts. All kinds of things can surface. So we fill every possible silent moment with noise. In the car. While exercising. In the shower. Some people even fall asleep to music or the television or a noise machine. We try to avoid it everywhere we go. And it’s actually really easy to do. I used to avoid it too.
For most of my life, I’ve fallen asleep to noise. I have a playlist for everything: writing, biking, yoga, road trips, showering, waking up. I used to think that this was just because I love music. Which, I do. But I started to realize that half of the time, the music was just background noise used to avoid silence. I wasn’t even really enjoying the music. Like Facebook or my iPhone, I instinctively turned on the radio in the car, I couldn’t fall asleep without noise and I even needed music in the shower. This wasn’t so much an addiction to noise, but an addiction to the lack of silence. And whenever I discover my dependence on something, I have to quit it.
Over a year ago I was forced to realize my dependence on noise. I went on a trip to the UK with my family. We stayed in dorms, hostels, hotels and houses together for 2 weeks. And for that 2 weeks, I couldn’t listen to music to fall asleep. I laid in bed, staring at the ceiling and thinking. During the trip I turned 25 and so I felt like I had a lot to think about. Vacations can really cause you to re-evaluate since they push you out of your comfort zone. So while realizing during the trip that it was difficult for me to be in silence and deciding that I actually enjoyed the times of silence I now got to experience, I decided to bring changes back with me.
When I got back home from the trip, I never listened to music to get to sleep again. Occasionally I’ll fall asleep to a movie or TV show but I could count those times on one hand. I use to wake up and immediately turn on my Spotify or Netflix but now I spend the morning in silence. I eat breakfast in silence. I go running in silence. This morning I spent the first 75 minutes of the day in silence. And it was wonderful. It’s easy to instinctually do something that you’ve always done for no reason. But as I think of my goal to live intentionally, and not just do something to do it, I can’t help but think that silence is something I should be intentional about. A break from the noise. A moment of peace.
Next time you instinctually turn on the TV or music in the background, think about being intentional with silence and see if it makes a difference. You might be left to your own thoughts and you might just like it.