Brain Tool #5: Silence


Play Daily With These Steps to Boost Your Brain:

Inner Silence

1. In a seated or supine position, with eyes opened or closed, initiate a deep abdominal breath
2. As you breathe, pause several seconds between the inhale & the exhale
3. Listen to this pause & become aware of your own inner silence
4. Repeat several times, each time listening more deeply to the pause

Outer Silence

5. Now, draw your attention to the sounds in your immediate external environment (i.e. the hum of the refrigerator, electronics, car, dog barking, etc.). Listen for the pauses (the silence) between these sounds. Do so without labeling/analyzing the sounds themselves
6. Then, listen for the the silence beneath these external sounds
7. Return to Inner Silence
8. Reflect on your experience

Listening Variations to Develop Flexible Thinking:

With Recorded Music ~
1. Start by playing a piece of recorded music you enjoy
2. Next, initiate steps 1-2 of the Brain Tool
3. As the music plays, listen for the pauses (silence) between the notes and/or musical phrases
4. Remain connected to your inhale-pause-exhale sequence, as you listen
5. Reflect on how listening this way impacts you

In Conversation ~
1. Listen for the natural pauses in the other’s speech
2. Pause several seconds before responding to them
3. Reflect on the impact this makes on your effectiveness to communicate

Teaching Children the Beauty of Silence:

1. Let children “catch” you having a moment of silence during the day
2. In the car, play the “silent game”  to listen for who can remain quiet the longest! Encourage children, not only to sustain silence, but to listen to it as well!
3. Engage in silent play & “conversation” by using pantomime and body language to communicate instead of words!

What’s Unique About this Brain Tool:

1. The brain “listens” to silence from a completely independent “ear to brain” processing channel than it does audible sound (Source: University of Oregon [2010, February 11]. “How the brain hears the sound of silence: Separate brain pathways process the start and end of what we hear.” Science Daily, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100210123759.htm)

2. Listening to silence helps the brain process the “stops & starts” of language — essential for those with auditory processing challenges, language disorders or dyslexia

3. Listening to internal silence cultivates deep relaxation, self-awareness, and reduces stress

4. Listening to silence stimulates reflection, creativity, and improves new learning

Silence is the Deepest Form of Listening ~ Silence is at the Center of All Sound