If I may respond to G. W. Mallet’s comment,
I find that an external condition, like physical silence, can be a helpful step on the way, but at a certain point, if we insist that it is a necessity, it becomes a refuge for the urge to control. We cannot impose external silence on a situation. If we feel that we must physically banish ourselves to an oasis of silence before we can find an inner place of quiet we are at least imposing on our selves, if not also on others.
Of course, it is simpler when we are not stressed by noise, but this difficulty lessens with practice. This realization begins to take our practice of stillness out of the “special case” category we tend to compartmentalize it into. It’s not an escape or refuge from life. It is an entry into it. For us to get the most out of life we need to master our ability to access silence no matter what is going around outside us, remembering too, that so often the noise we find ourselves surrounded by is as much a projection as as an actual fact.