'Finding the time and a place in which to be silent is important for us all. A wonderful project'
HOW DID SILENT SPACE BEGIN?
Our lives are often hectic. It can be difficult, particularly for those of us who live in urban areas, to find five minutes peace. Even the parks and gardens we visit for relaxation can be busy at weekends.
How different might life be if green places for silent reflection were easily accessible to us all? If enjoying brief spells of silence in nature was accepted as essential for our health? How much effort would it take to make this happen? We decided to find out.
During the summer of 2016, we set up the not-for-profit project Silent Space. A handful of gardens that open to the public agreed to take part and to reserve an area where people could be silent. For a couple of hours each week, visitors to these quiet areas were invited to switch off their phones and to stop talking.
The feedback from the pilot was so positive and the project so easy to run that, using the knowledge we’ve gained, we’re helping to create more Silent Spaces wherever we can. As one happy visitor pointed out, ‘It’s wonderful to have permission to be silent.’
'Silence is not the absence of something, but the presence of everything'
WHAT HAPPENS IN A SILENT SPACE?
There’s nothing complicated about a Silent Space. It’s an area of a garden or a park, already enjoyed by the public, that is temporarily reserved for silent visiting. It usually runs for just a few hours a week.
Once inside a Silent Space, we stop talking, turn off our phones and cameras, and switch off from social media. There are no other rules.
Whether sitting or strolling, we take time to notice the beauty around us. Even as little as five minutes will help us to enjoy the restorative benefits of being peaceful in a green place.
Image © Peter Young
'You cannot love what you do not know'
Charles Eisenstein ('The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible').
WHY IS SILENT SPACE IMPORTANT?
Research indicates that noise pollution causes damage to our bodies and to our minds. It’s little wonder that spending silent time in nature can bring us comfort and help us to feel restored. But perhaps there are other benefits too?
Being silent in the natural world is a particularly gentle kind of silence. We’re soothed by the birdsong and the sounds of the breeze in the trees. Quietly observing and listening, we grow to know and truly value the world we live in – to better appreciate our place within it and our responsibility to protect it.
And, as we connect with nature, we also connect more deeply with ourselves. It’s in the quiet times that inspiration comes.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
Do you manage or work in a green place that opens to the public? If your park or garden is interested in joining Silent Space, visit our Join the Scheme page and help us to create a more tranquil world.