It’s Time to Move from the Passing Lane to the Slow Lane
In our everyday lives, sensory input is being thrown at us from every angle. When we can finally get away from these sonic disruptions, our brains’ attention centers have the opportunity to restore themselves. The ceaseless attentional demands of modern life put a significant burden on the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which is involved in high-order thinking, decision-making and problem-solving.
When the brain is idle and disengaged from external stimuli, we can finally tap into our inner stream of thoughts, emotions, memories and ideas. Engaging this network helps us to make meaning out of our experiences, empathize with others, be more creative and reflect on our own mental and emotional states.
In order to do this, it’s necessary to break away from the distractions that keep us lingering on the shallow surfaces of the mind. Silence is one way of getting there. Default mode activity helps us think deeply and creatively. As Herman Melville once wrote, “All profound things and emotions of things are preceded and attended by silence.”