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Digital Subscriptions > Psychologies > No. 153 > Defining silence

Defining silence

In his meditation on silence, it is the cacophony within that poses the biggest challenge, discovers nature writer Paul Rushton

real wellness

Snatches of true silence can be found in far-flung places – areas devoid of human sound: the glacial wilds of Patagonia; the Peruvian Amazon and the foothills of the Himalayas. I have also found complete silence while camping alone in the Kentish woodland and, most locally, while meditating. I’ve found echoes of that search in countless books and films –€Erling Kagge’s brilliant

Silence: In The Age Of Noise (Penguin, £9.99); the documentary In Pursuit Of Silence; Sara Maitland’s Gossip From The Forest and her seminal 2008 work, A Book Of Silence (both Granta Books, £9.99). Silence, of course, is not silent. It is where subtler, slower, more expansive resonances are found; the ‘rhythm’ of grass, or the ‘pulse’ of mountains and the earth. But, while our ancestors lived with minimal stimulation, our modern minds are often mercilessly entertained by bleats and blether from our tech, and hectic soundscapes which a.ect us physiologically and behaviourally. We raise our voices, as urban songbirds have lifted their pitch, in order to compete.

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About Psychologies

We encourage you to fall in love with life, to get out of your head and into nature. Spring is officially here and we’re encouraging you to try a ‘micro-adventure’ –  a 24-hour foray outside into the fresh air whether it’s walking in the hills, or sleeping under the stars. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and fed up of slaving to support a lifestyle that doesn’t make you happy, then read how decluttering and minimalism can help you start creating a life based on values, not things in our  dossier. Join our month-long Psychologies Decluttering Challenge with expert Cait Flanders, author of The Year Of Less, who will coach us on how to simplify our lives.