The Sound of Silence

Retreat is a word often used in the Buddhist and spiritual communities. Meditation is a practice for finding time to contemplate and be quiet with our thoughts. Retreats are opportunities to fully submerge ourselves in an environment conducive toward the practice of meditation. Usually, a retreat is advertised as “getting away from it all” to focus on “the stuff that matters”. To the mountains, to a beautiful beach, to wherever one can find solitude and a bit of silence from the everyday noise of life. Silence, both inside and out, is highly treasured.

Silence can be deafening, it is often said. Noise is something humans habituate to. There are noises which can be heard every single day. If every major noise, such as cars or birds, were silenced, the sound of the breath would be astoundingly voluminous.  Absence of noise is how silence is defined. Retreating into silence (indeed, silent retreats) is seen to be healthful. Science continuously proves that time in nature, for example, changes the brain and has tremendous benefit for wellbeing. Nature is quieter than urban life. Open spaces outnumber city streets and trees are more populous than parking spaces. John Muir, the founder of National Parks, well understood the power of retreat into nature when he said (insert quote here). Arguably, silence is a necessity. Music, for example, is equally magnificent due to the notes which are heard as well as the silence between the notes. Silence acts as the important interim in daily life, the silence between the notes of one long symphony. Sometimes, those pauses are too short.

In a scientific study on the effect of music in the brain, scientists discovered that silence had a greater influence on brain structure than sound. Studying how relaxing music created physiological and psychological change, the scientists realized that the prolonged periods of silence. Listening is an activity. Though relaxing music does relax the body, listening still requires attention. The brain relaxes in different ways. Relaxation provided by music was different than relaxation provided by silence. Silent retreat in the mind was a deeper state of relaxation.

Addict’s minds do not easily adapt to silence. Uncomfortable with our own thoughts, we actively seek to create noise and chaos to avoid the ‘deafening’ sound of silence. Meditation is a practice we can include in our life to embrace the healing power of silence. Recovery is enhanced by our ability to be present with ourselves and embrace our thoughts compassionately.

Refuge Recovery incorporates mindfulness based stress reduction practices like meditation to help recovering addicts feel at ease in their own minds. Our goal is to encourage our clients to live as their best authentic selves. For more information on our programs of treatment for addiction and co-occurring disorders call (323) 207-0276

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