I previously wrote about the notion of working out to silence, to get to a quiet mental state, to make it easier to think clearly and more deeply. Here is additional perspective on that.

Noise

Modern life is noisy life. The noise comes in different forms – visual, audible, mental, and so forth – it is more simply input that reaches for our attention to engage, to process, to form opinions, to react.

Navigating a typical day, you interact with different people, who work through their own struggles. Their opinions or advice reflect their beliefs, views of the world and agendas.

You also encounter a multitude of different systems that all act according to their own goals and incentives. The apps you use, the sites you visit, they are generally optimized for themselves, their operators — not for you.

There can be so much of it that it becomes a challenge to sort through it all. It starts blending together, becomes a sort of background sound, a hum that is both easy and very difficult to ignore. Without meaning to, we have become used to it.

Where is your own voice in the midst of it all?

Imagine tuning it all out, one by one.

Removed

A silence that is deafening.

When the noise, the distractions are gone, the silence can take a particular quality, it can fill us with some unease. Can the absence of something overwhelm? People do a lot to avoid boredom.

Perhaps it feels more comfortable to scroll through Twitter, browse YouTube or Reddit or Wikipedia than to face a blank page. To fill the silence with a podcast or music than to just endure it. Being alone with your thoughts can be unpleasant.

But when the noise and the distractions are gone, there is calm for your own voice to be heard. Consider what comes up then.

Attention

Of course outside perspectives can have value for you. They can also distract you, anchor or otherwise bias your thinking. You need enough calm to perceive your own voice.

Learn from others and think for yourself.

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