Just like your muscles need food in order to grow, so does your “soul” (or whatever) need experience. And just like muscle growth happens during rest, so does soul growth happen during silence.
Experience is digested in the solitude of silence: you assimilate the wisdom, and you shit out negativity.
Today our digestive tracts have to work overtime, though, because we have an abundance of food, which leads to obesity. Likewise, we have an abundance of music, which makes us deaf to the sound and silence of the world.
About a century ago, music was a rare treat you could enjoy only during special social events. Yea, listing to music was an event in itself.
“Without music, life would be a mistake,” said Nietzsche, but keep in mind that he had already lost his mental faculties by the time the phonograph came to Germany. He certainly didn’t realize that hypothetical mistake by walking mindlessly through the streets wearing iPhone earphones.
In ancient times, music accompanied social rituals, religious ceremonies, political events, preparation for war, and marching into battle.
Today, music is omnipresent. And this omnipresence—this constant artificial auditory stimulation—robs us of its visceral power as well as of the power of silence.
When you go out to a club, concert, or festival, there should be music—celebration music. Also, when you go hit the gym, there should be music—war music (at least to crank up your testosterone production while you march into battle; when you’ve arrived, I recommend focused training without music).
Music is awesome for dancing, celebrating, and pumping yourself up. But when you’re at work, at home, among friends, or alone with your thoughts, music will distract you (unless you use it specifically for auditory meditation).
True, life’s not all black and white: there are different types of music that have different effects on the brain: from ambient and instrumental to metal and lyric-dense rap songs. Some album may put you in a good flow state and help you work more productively. But it could also chip away at your ability to do deep creative work. What measures do you take to ensure that you’re not just blindly following habits?
Be aware that music consumption robs you of a silence you may not even know exists; people have music in their heads even when they’re not listening to it. You may be a musician, yea! an avid creator!—all the power to you, my friend! But more likely, you’re just a consumer. And as a consumer, you don’t know silence: you’re either exposing yourself to sounds or you hear voices of addiction telling you to expose yourself more.
If you’re never in silence, you won’t grow in spirit. But actually, you don’t have to turn off the music to be in silence. Music is not the enemy. It’s just such a loving friend that it may make you forget the silence of the Now. For silence is, in fact, omnipresent (now literally). Silence is between sounds just as mindcoolness is between thoughts and feelings. There is always deep silence, providing you with a space for growth.
To listen to the silence, wherever you are, is an easy and direct way of becoming present. Even if there is noise, there is always some silence underneath and in between the sounds [that’s what I call “deep silence”]. Listening to the silence immediately creates stillness inside you. Only the stillness in you can perceive the silence outside. (The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle)
That’s how mindcoolness and silence are connected!
If, however, you’re deaf to deep silence, you can use shallow silence to open your ears:—turn off the music, get rid of external stimulation, and stop consuming. Then listen. Listen to the silence of nature. Listen to the silence of your presence. That’s where growth happens. And it’s one more step on the path to mindcoolness.