Silence is golden. Is it?

What is silence?


According to Cambridge’s English dictionary, silence has a number of meanings, among others are:

  • A period without any sound; complete quiet;
  • A state of not speaking or writing or making noise;
  • A state of refusing to talk about something or answering questions, or a state of not communicating.


Two questions popped up in my mind. Is it possible to be silent in our lives these days? How come silence is so precious that it is golden?


I don’t need to tell you how fast our world moves these days and how that impacts our lives on daily basis. Sometime I looked back on how the world was 10 years ago and I’d never had dreamt of such pace that we’re in today then. Inconceivable.


What comes into our lives is an immense amount of data, from many directions; at any time we open ourselves to it. We have, at least, 5 senses to receive and send data.

The challenge today is to filter, process, and manage data, no longer to search for it.


Combination of fast speed and immense amount of data in our lives means frequent data overload.


How does this play out on daily basis?
We had conversations that we often couldn’t even recall. We attended meetings where we forgot what had been agreed and why. We repeated ourselves to the same people over and over. We didn’t remember to whom we had shared something with. Sometime, we don’t know what we already know or have. And this is just to name a few.


Overload. Redundancy. Repetitive. These are some of the downside outcomes of having a combination of speed and immense amount of data.


This is definitely far less than being neither efficient nor effective.


We are more disconnected from others and ourselves as we are surrounded by more data in our live. What a paradox!


In 2011, World Health Organization report called noise pollution a “modern plague,” concluding that “there is overwhelming evidence that exposure to environmental noise has adverse effects on the health of the population.”


I came across this fascinating article titled “This is your brain on silence” – I’d recommend you to read this as this highlights a number or researches about silence, from the perspective of noise.

One information stood out to me in particular and I am quoting it here:

“In 1859, the British nurse and social reformer Florence Nightingale wrote, “Unnecessary noise is the most cruel absence of care that can be inflicted on sick or well.” Every careless clatter or banal bit of banter, Nightingale argued, can be a source of alarm, distress, and loss of sleep for recovering patients.

Surprisingly, recent research supports some of Nightingale’s zealous claims. In the mid 20th century, epidemiologists discovered correlations between high blood pressure and chronic noise sources like highways and airports. Later research seemed to link noise to increased rates of sleep loss, heart disease, and tinnitus”.


You get the gist. This is just from noise and noise is everywhere – TV, radio, music, social media, podcast, etc., on our finger tips, not even needing going to the shop to get it. Then we have chatters around us. Everyone has opinions and these days, we feel freer to share them, regardless that we’re not asked.


How about visual overload?

An article authored by Rebecca MacMillan of University of Texas about image overload highlights some psychological effects people experience being overloaded by images.

“As we snap, store and communicate with thousands of images on our phones and computers, a number of researcher and theorists are already beginning to point to some of the unintended consequences of this “image overload,” which range from heightened anxiety to memory impairment.”


Photos on the phone are not the only visuals. Billboards, magazines, newspapers, TV, our possessions, etc. They are everywhere.


What is real, what is not? What is relevant, what is not? What is important, what is not? What is useful, what is not? What gives us pleasure, what does not?


Yes, the plot thickens. The points above are only covering 2 information sensory receivers. There are a few more.


Is it possible to alienate noise and visual completely? Hardly, I’d say. Not all of us live in recluse areas and not operating using technology we have today.


What we can do is to experience inner silence regularly; to clear out the inner noise and visuals within us, as such we are, in that moment of time, being in the present, connecting stronger and deeper with ourselves. In turn, this will help us connect deeper with others.


It is quite evident that the more frequent we interrupt the data overload, the better our quality of life can be. I’d label the interrupting act as “Silent Time Practice”.


Here are some examples of what you could do in your “Silent Time Practice”:

  • Breathing deeply, regularly, for a few minutes.

At least 5 counts inhale and 5 counts exhale.

If required, put a reminder on your agenda/phone so you take time to do this.


  • Mindful walking/jogging

It means walking/jogging with the intent to feel your body. No music, no phone, no chatter. Focus on your breathing and feel the sensation in your body as you take one step after another. 


  • Automatic writing

Grab some sheets of paper. Take a long deep breath for a few times. If you want, you can close your eyes and start writing whatever comes out of your mind. Let it all out. Don’t think, don’t question, just follow whatever streams out of your mind and move it to the paper. Do this for a few pages. Upon finishing, take another long deep breathe and read back what is written, if you can.


  • Painting/Drawing/Sketching


  • Meditation


  • Praying


  • Extended silent time

It can be half a day, 1 full day, 3 days, 10 days, consisting of all the above activities and more.

Vipassana is an example of an extended of silent time with self.


The point of the above exercises is to breathe deeper and slower while doing them, to stay in and feel your body and to allow what comes up to come up as is, in the present moment. No judging, no arguing, just acknowledge it. You can say to yourself: “I hear you. I feel you. I see you”. Let these thoughts float and dissipate after.

When they keep lingering, note them down and attend to them at a different time. Processing emotions need focused attention.


Regardless how long and how often you do a Silent Time Practice, here are some benefits of it:


In silence, you feel your feelings and hear your thoughts louder and clearer. When you listen without judgment, you figure out sooner what matters most for you. Then you can let go the rest.


More space and energy within to experience new things

We are sophisticated machines that need purging. The more often we purge, the better. In silence, we can easily acknowledge our thoughts and feelings. Only few require follow-ups. As our mind purges and lets go or archives things that are not relevant for us anymore, it allows creative juice within us to flow.



Wisdom is one of the most powerful assets for anyone to be resilient in life. Wisdom is not shaped by the number of years one has lived, but by how quickly one learnt from their experiences.

Silent Time Practice is helping us in detaching ourselves from the stickiness of situations. Such act allows us to do a reflection/contemplation, which means transforming experiences into something with a truthful meaning. Truth always brings out inner peace.


Improved physical and emotional well being

Dr. Herbert Benson, a professor of Mind/Body medicine at Harvard Medical School, pioneered mind-body research, focusing on stress and the relaxation response in medicine. In his research, the mind and body are one system, in which meditation can play a significant role in reducing stress responses.

He introduced the term relaxation response as a scientific alternative for meditation.

According to him, relaxation response is the ability of the body to induce decreased activity of muscle and organs. It is an opposite reaction to the fight-or-flight response. With Robert Keith Wallace, he observed that relaxation response reduced metabolism, rate of breathing, heart rate, and brain activity.


I enjoy integrating “Silent Time Practice” regularly in my life. It started out with 30 minutes of silent time everyday and it has expanded to 1 hour daily in addition to 1-3 days of silent time monthly.


What I realize is that integrating a “Silent Time Practice” requires some discipline and practice over time. There is no one recipe of which practice is good. You can decide. It is your life. What matters is to give it a chance and experience how this uplifts you.


So, is it true that “Silence is Golden”?

Yes, indeed, and to be precise, Silent time is golden.







Surrender = smart living

“There is no medicine for it. Sleep and drink a lot of water are what you can do so your body can do its best to fight the virus and heal”.


It took me a while to understand what the doctor was telling me. I had just returned from Asia. My temperature was 39.5 Celsius and she had just told me I had Dengue Fever. 

No medicine, are you serious? My already clouded mind went in a spin. Dengue Fever is known as the “Break-bone fever” for a reason. It causes grave pains all over your muscles and joints. No kidding!

Dengue fever taught me something profound though. It taught me what surrender means.


Like a lot of us, I associated surrendering with being passive, and to a large degree with being irresponsible. 

I grew up believing that working hard was a way to achieve what I aimed for. Being focused, persistent, resilient, responsible, and resourceful were the ingredients to being successful. 

This formula worked for years, until I had dengue fever, of which after I realized, there is an additional ingredient to add to this formula. It’s called surrender.


What does surrender mean?

In a personal development context, I think of surrender as a mode of acceptance. 

Accept what, you may ask?

Surrender is a conscious decision to accept that:

  1. You can control what you have power over, which is your mind ; 
  2. You are the designer of everything you want to have in your life;
  3. You are interdependent with others to manifest what you want;
  4. Others you are interdependent with are doing their best to fulfill their parts as you are doing yours;
  5. And lastly, you always get the best POSSIBLE outcome at that time when all the decisions above are honored.

Let me refer back to my experience with dengue fever to bring to life what surrender could look like.

When I returned home from the doctor, I made a decision that I wanted to get healthy as soon as POSSIBLE.

I asked myself, what would it take for me to get well, and the answer was straightforward: sleep and drink water. Just as the doctor prescribed.

I asked myself the next question: what would it take for me to sleep deeply?

I’ve read a few articles a few years back that deep sleep  is required for our body to heal itself.

The answers were profound:

Let go of stress.

To be completely open, I was scared and in pain. I classified dengue fever to be a life threatening disease. I had heard many horrific stories about it of which a lot of people had died or not fully recovered. These ideas in my mind stressed me out big time. The fact that I could not work, as I run my own company, added even more stress.

My mind was clear though – I intended to recover fully. This was my end goal.

To let go of the stress, I asked for help. I handed over all of my work to my colleague, switched off my working brain, switched off my phone, and did my best to sleep.


Handover the rest of the healing process to my body faithfully.

I took a leap of faith (yes, it was a leap of faith for me). I chose to trust that my body was going to do its best to heal without medicine.

I was praying for the best. Never had I been in a situation like this before. In the past, when I had a serious illness, I ALWAYS took medicine.

For 2 weeks, I slept for 18 hours per day and drank a lot of water in my waking hours. I had 2 additional resting weeks before I went back to work. 


Surrender is often misunderstood as “giving up” on the situation we’re in. It is NOT that. Yes, surrender entails a level of giving up, but not on the situation itself.

It is giving up the belief that we, alone, need and can change what is.

It is giving up to a fixed idea of that there is only one way of doing things (which is the way we have done things in the past) and it is only “I” who can do it.

It is giving up the idea that we are here alone and separated from others, even from our own body.

It is about choosing to hand over the next step to something beyond and larger outside of our “physical comprehension”, and very often it is unseen.


Very often, a crisis in our lives brings us face-to-face with this concept; when it feels like there is nowhere else to be, apart from giving up and handing over to something else beyond our (limited) cognizance.


Surrendering feels like a moment in our lives when we realised that we have been swimming against the currents without realising and stopping it.

All of a sudden, the perspective changes. It changes because at the moment of surrendering, we are swimming with the currents towards our true destination. We are no longer trying too hard. We are no longer holding on to what was, to how we did things in the past. We just go with what is.

In other words, in the moment of surrendering, we are changing the direction from holding on to the past/comfort zone/how we have been doing things into the present, and the present continues to change with every movement that we make.


The gist of what I am sharing with you now is applicable to many situations we face everyday and not only in a crisis situation.

It is relevant for ANYTHING that entails uncertainty, from wanting to get promoted to moving houses to having children to getting a divorce and many more.

We need to integrate surrender as a habit so it becomes an integral part of our lives. Just like having a healthy and fit body, the habits of eating healthily, doing sports and regular emotional de-cluttering are pre-requisites for it.


How to surrender:

  1. Start your day and any of your activities with a clear intention.


“I intend to fill my day with love and kindness”

“I intend to participate in this meeting with respect so the best fitting solutions for our project are in place”

“I intend to provide my clients with the best solutions for them in a way that is uplifting for me”


  1. Do your best in going about your activities; fuelled by your intention.
  2. When doubts, fears or struggle creep up (because they will), breathe deeply.

Do this for 3 minutes. Inhale in for 5 counts, and exhale out for 5 counts. For 3 minutes straight.

Gregg Braden in his documentary called “The Missing Links” explains that deep breathing sends a signal to our brain that the situation is safe. Such signals allow your brain that is in flight or fight mode (due to the fears) to shift.

This shift gets the right hemisphere of your brain to work again. This hemisphere of the brain is in charge of creative thinking.


  1. As you are becoming calmer, give your mind a focus of attention that leads to opening up possibilities, entailing positive feelings.

It is very important that the mind has the right focus.

Christie Marie Sheldon, an  Intuitive Life Coach that I respect, has a fantastic phrase that I use in my life: “What would it take for… (fill in the blank with what you want)?” instead of “What can I do to …?”.

Notice the difference – of these 2 questions – the first question is encompassing more than just you. This is what surrender is about.

Repeat this question 10-15 times; to get your mind to understand that this is the focus you want it to have.


  1. Open your heart and mind to receive the answers, as they will come through from many directions.

Your intuition is one way for the answer to come through, but it is not limited to only that. You may have a friend or a stranger out of the blue telling you something that is on point with what you are asking. You may see a poster on the bus stop that speaks to you. Anything may bring the answer to you.

TRUST these answers and follow it with an ACTION


Surrender is about opening up yourself to everything outside of your self, allowing for help to come to you.

Do these steps everyday. Make it a habit. I am convinced that your day, your work, your health, your relationship; basically your life will be uplifted.


You will know that surrendering is an integral part of your life when you feel:

  • Present and focused;
  • Optimistic;
  • More resilient;
  • More peaceful within;

regardless of how challenging the experience you are in is.


Wishing you the joy in surrendering.