I’m writing this with noise-cancelling headphones on. I’m also eating pretzels which, thanks to said headphones, is ridiculously loud in the confines of my head. It reminds me of the only time I’ve experienced complete silence.
As a graduate working for a telecoms company, I spent a few minutes in an anechoic chamber at their research facility. The room is so well insulated against outside noise that when you’re in it, you can hear your heart beating.
It’s a surreal experience and a strangely moving one. I recall being acutely aware of being inside my body, as if I was a passenger inside a ship, listening to the mechanics of its operation. Being carried within it, but not it.
As I stood there on the wire of the suspended floor, it felt like I had been dropped into a deep and instant meditation where I was suddenly and completely alone with myself.
To be alone with your thoughts is often uncomfortable. We go to great lengths to avoid it, distracting ourselves with work, socialising, entertainment, gossiping even – working so hard to be in anyone else’s story but our own. But who are we when everything else falls away? Who are we when we’re forced to be alone in the silence within ourselves?
I suppose that this is the question I’m trying to answer through this blog. All I know at the moment is that I’m comfortable with the silence that comes from time alone. And that feels like progress.