Silence Is Golden

Silence. Our granddaughter recently celebrated her first birthday. She communicates a lot with varied inflection. A light-hearted old saying went something like this .. you can’t wait for them to talk and then you wonder if they’ll ever be quiet. Ha!

Many of us have lots to say and modern technology has offered a myriad of choices for us to communicate. Rarely do I go anywhere, a store, a restaurant, a drive without noticing someone on their cellphone. We have established a new manner of movement that is, walking and talking simultaneously. Privacy and confidentiality has taken a hit. Going to festivals used to be a great time replete with people watching. Now, we can listen to their respective conversations to whomever. ”Oh, it’s those kids these days” some will say. No, folks, it’s people of all ages. Our phones and other means of communication have become idols, gods to keep us in touch, informed and constantly updated. Processing all that information has perhaps made us smarter. However, are we any wiser? What are we each doing with all that abundance? Is it helpful? Is it contributing at all to a greater understanding of us, our place on the earth plane? Lots of philosophical and theological inquiries to consider.

Social scientists say that we are constantly thinking. Tens of thousands of thoughts pass through our consciousness daily. Now that is a real mind blower. Many clients have shared with me how their sleep experience results in moodiness during the day. Many seek a sleep aid either by prescription or over-the-counter.

”I wish my brain would shut up,” one client boldly told me. Guess what? Your brain doesn’t ”shut up.” Countless folks go to bed with unresolved matters of importance and sleep restlessly. They wake up and the unresolved matter, like a shadow, hasn’t gone away. In fact, due to restless and worrisome sleep, the matter sometimes feels worse.

Our lives have evolved toward a great complexity which challenges our ability to manage on a daily basis. I’ve heard people say, ”You need a vacation.” Most vacations taken in these United States last a week.

Get this! Social scientists say that physiologically, it takes one to two days to quiet down. That leaves five to six days of rest. Oh yeah … additionally, the stress related to, ”Oh my God, I’ve got to get back to work,” starts one to two days prior to the end of your holiday. Ergo, you may only experience two to four real restful days. How many return home, go to work and complain of fatigue? Imagine the accumulative effect.

One tool to learn returns us to the concept of silence. We hear much about prayer and its benefit. I’m a true believer. What we only get a glimpse of media attention is the concept of meditation. Learning daily, not once in a while, daily to sit in silence. Yes, even the masters confess to some of that external noise interrupting the silence. Nevertheless, over time and with practice, you may be surprised the rewards that you’ll reap. Sleep, for example, can greatly improve even when beset with thousands of thoughts. Mood can elevate and the holistic mind-body-spirit experience can potentially serve us in healing, in resolution of problems and overall health and well-being. Even as an admitted skeptic, I practice this art daily with an improved quality of life. Check it out! Best of health.

Marshall Greenstein holds a master’s degree in marriage and family counseling and is a licensed marriage and family counselor and a licensed mental health counselor in New York state. He has regular office hours at Hutton and Greenstein Counseling Services, 501 E. Third St., Suite 2B, Jamestown, 484-7756. For more information or to suggest topics, email