How much time do we spend doing stuff instead of simply being? Stress levels are increasing, and more people are suffering from physical and mental disorders caused by stress and anxiety. It is becoming clear that there is a strong relationship between mind and body, therefore, a focus on inner peace and silence feels necessary and authentic.
“I am a human being, not a human doing,” said Kurt Vonnegut.
We spend most of our time looking at screens, or immersed in the chatter — that’s why inner peace and silence are today’s most precious luxuries. As our digital addiction is deeply integrated into our reality, it might be hard to see its consequences on our health. The medical establishment and media are just beginning to discover how this behavior is destroying our mental wellbeing. Many studies confirm that digital distractions hurt our focus, sleep quality, and increase anxiety.
On the other hand, how do moments of silence affect the brain?
A study conducted by Duke University found that two hours of silence daily induce significant cell development in the hippocampus, the region of the brain related to the formation of memory.
The study shows that freedom from noise and goal-directed tasks allow our “conscious workspace” to thrive, helping us to connect with the world around us and find our place in it — that’s the power of silence.
If depression is associated with decreased hippocampal neurogenesis, silence might be a promising therapy.
Wellness offerings need to explore how much spiritual practices and scientifically proven stress-management methods have in common to help people see the connection between holistic medicine and science. Vipassana (10-day silent retreat) has been around for more than 2,500 years, and its benefits are being integrated into accessible wellness industry offerings.
Here are some examples:
Monasteries open to the general public:
- Tassajara Zen Mountain Center in Carmel, California
This center offers retreats on mindfulness, spirituality, and creativity.
- Shunkoin Temple complex in Kyoto
This temple offers Zen meditation and mindfulness retreats with the temple’s priest. Check out his popular TEDx talk.
New edition — wellness monasteries:
- Eremito in Umbria, Italy
This renovated ancient monastery offers a mind-body-spirit rejuvenation in a complete digital disconnection — no WiFi or phone signal. At 8 p.m., the gong announces the time for the silent, mindful dinner held in a gorgeous candlelit dining room. The monastery is the Condé Nast Traveler’s 2016 winner for “Best Mental Recovery.”
- Le Monastère des Augustines in Quebec, Canada
This is a 17th-century monastery turned wellness center, with a focus on quiet time and a whole range of holistic services — plus at dusk, you can hear the nuns sing Vespers.
- Hotel Klosterbräu in Tirol, Austria
This is a massive wellness center in an ancient monastery setting. The proposed concept revolves around the former monks’ “10 pillars of contemplation.”
In today’s world, where so many of the brightest minds are working to attract our attention and make us stick to their agendas, it is a significant relief to see the prominent return of SILENCE.
This one of the most meaningful (probably one of the oldest) trends in wellness — and it will only deepen and evolve in the years ahead.
Having studied many different mindfulness traditions and integrative approaches, it has become clear to me that wellness products and destinations need to offer more in-depth, comprehensive focus on improving quality of life by highlighting the actual “art of living” — moving from helping people to “do,” especially “do more,” to helping them to “be.” This approach needs to include a much more intense focus on silence and nature.
On awarenow we have seen people enjoying silent coaching — a new form of connection, where you feel seen, perceived as a whole. It is a powerful tool to release beyond words.
If you are in Los Angeles or San Francisco, come to one of our awarenow experience events where we create space for deep connections, peace of mind through different approaches — ceremonial musical gatherings, silent hikes, workshops, mindful dinners and so on.
Fancy to chat about holistic personalized self-work? Email me at alina[at]awarenow.io
Want to experience silent (but not limited to) coaching? Request a free private coaching session with one of awarenow guides on www.awarenow.io