Grade A Nation
Grade A Nation

Episode · 2 months ago

E167: Enjoy the Silence with Authors Leigh Marz and Justin Zorn!


On this installment of Grade A Nation, Chris Thomas chats with Leigh Marz and Justin Zorn, authors of the book, “Golden: The Power of Silence in a World of Noise.” The book approaches noise and silence in a sophisticated manner that should get people thinking about how the extent of noise and silence in one’s life can play a role in personal well-being and work performance, among other aspects of life.

We talk about:

-where the book fits within studies of human psychology

-the concept of justice including a democratization of silence

-whether there is a danger in certain cultures embracing silence to an extreme extent

-how people selectively tuning out others that think differently can be a potentially counterproductive type of silence

-the value in removing the stigma tied to hyperacusis and autism where individuals have noise sensitivity

-how shared communal experiences, even at a noisy rock concert, can potentially allow people to tap into a valuable form of internal quiet

And lots more on this fun-filled discussion of complex subject matter. Every Grade A Nation interview is a winner in some way, but this one stands out!

To learn more about Leigh and Justin’s book, check out: 

How's it gone great? In nature? Christ Thomas here, I hope you're having a great a kind of day. And my guests on this installment of great Nation are Lean Mars and Justin Zorne. They are the co authors of Golden The Power of Silence and a World of Noise, available on Amazon dot Com and anywhere else. Books, audio books, and e books are available. Lee and Justin. How are you great? Thanks for having us, Chris, wonderful. Good to be with you, Chris. I'm appreciative of your time. Silence and noise. I mean, silence is often perceived as a bad thing in terms of being complacent or apathetic, but you state that the noise of things like social media is one of distraction. Can can you talk about the premise of noise relative to silence? Absolutely so, Chris. We came to writing this book from just a feeling of despondence, like what are we going to do about the state of the world, feeling of overwhelmed, feeling of like where do we go from here? How can we possibly be affected in bringing a little bit more sanity? And Lee and I both had this intuition that the prerequisite to doing anything good in our own lives and our communities and our worlds would be to turn down the volume of noise, and not just that, but to actually tune into the silence, to listen to the silence, immerse ourselves in it, so we could hit reset find a little bit more clarity. So we wrote a piece for Harvard Business Review about that topic. It resonated with people, and UM ended up creating the opportunity to write this book. So we started interviewing people about you know this question you just asked about, you know, what is noise? What is silence? And we asked people, what's the deepest silence you've ever known? We asked this question to poets and neuroscientists and activists and national politicians and corporate executives, someone who had been on death row for thirty years, and the answers surprised us because the answer showed us that noise and silence weren't what we always thought that they were. There were deeper levels to their meaning. Lee, you want to say a little bit more about the meaning of noise and silence, Sure, I'd be happy to. So we didn't really start our exploration looking at auditory noise and silence and the article in Harvard Business Review that Justin was just referring to focused on that, and there's certainly lots to be uncovered there. But as you sort of pointed us in the direction of Chris, we also wanted to look at on the noise level, informational noise, the mass proliferation of mental stuff that is available to us today. The past CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt, estimates that every two days we generate as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization to two thousand and three. So we are swimming in so much more information and consuming, according to another study, five times the amount we did just a generation ago. But we also wanted to look at noise in the informational realms, and especially paying attention to the things that are grabbing for our attention these days, mercilessly in many cases. But then we have found, when we asked this question the deepest silence you've ever known, that people were speaking to experiences that were not often auditorially or even informationally quiet. They were talking about experiences of pristine attention that was an internal experience, profound experience of self transcendence. In some case...

...says where there's a sense of the eco it self falling away, but feeling a great sense of expansiveness and connection to all things of all different sorts. So we can get into what that's like. So we look at internal silence and internal noise in this case as well. Um So our framework is auditory, informational, internal, looking at silence as an external phenomena of course, but also an internal one that really is incredibly diverse based on who's feeling it. It's a subjective experience. So we explore what what could lead our readers or your listeners to silence in their lives and encourage them to find their own path. Obviously, in psychology there's a whole body of literature on emotions, and there's work on a dual systems framework of emotion, where positive feelings usually lead people to rely on habit the status quo. On the other hand, negative emotions like anxiety can compel people to search for information to better understand why they feel the way that they do. So in the process of looking for that information they end up learning things. So I'm just curious about maybe reconciling your work with the literature in psychology, or at least a body of literature and psychology. That said, maybe having a lot of noise can ultimately be a good thing because it's conducive to learning and finding out why you feel the way that you do. Mm hmm. Yeah, it's an important point. And we're not against sound and stimulus and information. We're not against talking. We sometimes joke that we came to writing this book because we both are big talkers. But what we came define in our study of this subject is that noise is our most celebrated addiction these days. It's not that noise, it's not that sound and stimulus can't be valuable, but we're living in a world where we tend to assume that any information is valuable. Calm Newport, the computer scientist, talks about this as a kind of convenience addiction, where when you take group emails in an office, for example, we just simply assume that more information is better. We don't meaningfully weigh the prose against the cons and the evidence of any benefit of sending out more information to people is just assumed to justify continued use. But there's value in pristine attention. There's value in having the space to connect to silence. This is what we found in the neuroscience that we could go into and also in studies of people who perform extraordinarily native acts, and in our society, we say today that Noises our most celebrated addiction. Because the way we measure progress according to gross domestic product, for example, isn't just how much industrial stuff we're creating, how much we're producing in our economy, but how much sound and stimulus we're creating. Two. That's how we measure GDP. So you know, just like with GDP, when you chop down a forest to sell the wood at home depot, that counts as a plus. It doesn't count as a benefit to GDP if you leave that forest intact. You can say the same thing about human attention. It counts as a plus when we chop up our attention and turn it into eyeballs on a screen, gathering information on a Facebook news news feed, but it doesn't count as anything according to GDP, the metrics by which we measure our economy. When a person is in a moment of appreciation of nature outdoors, when a person is in a moment of play with their kids...

...or absorbed in great art, we don't value pristine attention the way we value just the the maximum possible production and consumption of any information, irrespective of its quality. Chris, I would love to I love where you're pointing us to, just to zoom in a little bit on that internal noise that we mentioned. I mentioned in the framework which includes chatter. Ethan Cross, researcher at University of Michigan, says that we have an equivalent of three and twenties State of the Union addresses of inner monologue per minute, ten time or sorry on any given day. And that's a ton of compressed breach that's flying through our brains. And it can be I think sometimes to your point, something that gets pointing us towards a really important signal, something we need to pay attention to to discern that signal. Ah, you know, I'm really fixated on this thing. Maybe it's something I need to turn my full attention to an address, or maybe I'm not feeling good about this thing I said or this relationship you know, decision I made. So there can be a signal in there, absolutely, but what we want to distinguish it from is when when are we actually just ruminating or fixating or you know, when is that internal chatter unhelpful and even harmful or adding to the anxiety and depression that are that we seem to be UM struggling with an exponential rate, are young people as well as of all ages. So really making the distinction here between a signal that is important to attend to and noise which is unwanted distraction, be that auditory, informational, or internal, and people that identify as Amish and other societies and cultures where noise is seen as displeasing to a higher power, and that perhaps silence can help prepare damage relationships by avoiding negative topics that can cause hatred or disagreement. Those folks are are out there. But do you think that within some cultures silence taken to the extreme can be harmful in any way? Yeah. Absolutely, It depends on the meaning of silence that we're talking about. You know, as you mentioned before, Chris, there is a certain level to which silence can be you know, especially in our culture these days, apathy and withdrawal and kind of closed lip complacency UM, and that in any culture we feel is a negative thing, it's important to be able to speak directly about what we need in the topics that matter. But in this book and our exploration, we found that that silence of closed lip complacency isn't silence and truest sense, you know, because the refusal to perceive an abuse, what's wrong. That's the opposite of the kind of silence we're talking about, which is clear perception and intention. You know, when we're in this space of silence, as we talked about it, as Lee was just describing this space beyond the noise, the noise and the sense of that which is interfering with our perception and intention. When we're in this space of silence, this pristine attention, we can have more sympathy for other people. We can feel more what's happening in our own lives and the lives of people around us. So, you know, we we say in the book that there's a kind of moral dimension to this kind of silence. It helps to pull us away from self centeredness and apathy. And more and more people are wired in such a way that they can automatically tune out noise that is contradictory to...

...their point of view or orientation about the world. So, you know, someone identifies as a Democrat, they just ignore Fox News if they identify as Republican, they just ignore MSNBC. So if people are becoming biased pressors of information and are selectively seeking out silent, is that really helpful in terms of the social and local environment and finding consensus and common ground, that's a really beautiful place to explore. I think, I mean really important today and really again, what what why we came to this book that place of despondency because it wasn't just say the loudness of the opinions or the noise of the opinions that we typically disagree with that was getting at us. It was also the the generating of more and more and more content and reactivity that of the people we agree with. Where we was having where it was feeling like a complete place, We were feeling completely saturated and unable to discern what is true. So this kind of builds on what where Justin was pointing us with silence being uh there being a moral dimension and silence being the work of justice. So we turned to Gandhi for example, who In and his fight for Indian independence still determined, no matter how important and those that work was and how much he had to say about it, that every Monday he should be in silence, that he should retreat, at least from the obligation of needing to speak and react to everything, to discern the best course of action in his strategy. So every Monday he was silent. He might take meetings, he might attend a conference, but he wouldn't speak. And then on Tuesday he would emerge from a place of that, from that deep quiet that at least in his own mind, not worrying about that responsiveness, and the people around him would say he would just speak with a stream of clarity, um without notes, a flow would come forward, and that that place, that place he'd found every Monday to regroup. And we've met other people since writing this book could do this, and we recommend and have done it ourselves some time to pull back to really did not be so convinced by what is noise in our life, but to really sense, with our own body, our own instrument, where are we finding ourselves clinching and contracting, Where are we finding ourselves tense and tensing and reacting and closing ourselves off from that empathy and compassion, And that silence may be one way to reconnect to something more whole and less divided in our world right now now. In terms of the book, Justice calls for democratizing silence and people who make less I acknowledge are often in noisy parts of the world. But aren't there a significant number of individuals and poverty in rural and remote areas where you know, the conception is that they're not in a particularly noisy area, but they are suffering economically, and that's demonstrated by instances of drug abuse, addiction, and suicide. So how can we democratize silence and account for the individuals living in poverty in raw and remote areas. It's a really interesting question, Chris. In the book, we look at higher levels of noise pollution that exists exists often an extremely higher levels in poorer areas of urban been settings, you closer to industrial facilities, often closer... airports and other trading noise. So it's a serious issue for health and cognition, particularly in urban areas, and we look at the neuroscience and medical research around how noise drives the fight or flight response in the body. That has serious implications for health, our ability to think, our ability to heal. But you're right, it's an interesting paradox that there's also a lot of poverty in quiet rural areas. That said, really true quiet in our world, even in rural areas these days, is increasingly disappearing. In the US at least, the National Park Service estimates that noise pollution doubles or triples every thirty years. And a lot of the noise that we're talking about is the noise of social media, the noise of cell phones, which are ubiquitous in much of the world now, even in lower income populations. The nature of our of our connection to other people, our connection to nature itself is changing your respective of income levels. Yeah, we also wanted to take the time and we our book. We open out not just from individual things that we can do in our lives to bring more quiet, even in the most noisy environments. The teacher that we turn to as we look at our own personal choices and our own our own sphere of control is Jarvis J. Masters, who is on death row in one of the loudest auditory environments known to humankind, and also with the least amount of control over how his time is spent. He spent twenty three hours a day in a cell four by nine cell, so he's working on the practice of how does he find quiet even in that really cocoa honest environment. So we turn from there just really to help the reader examine their own sphere of control, to practices that one can do with one's family and co workers, and so there might be something about really finding folks that we do this with together. To society as at large, what are the what are the agreements of regulations, the things that we can provide as a society as a whole to protect and preserve people's pristine attention. We didn't want to turn this book into a bunch of solutions that become like luxury items or gadgetry that one gets or accumulates. Really this our desire is to preserve silence for all and find our ways for that. And since we're not just talking about auditory there's so many levels to how we do that. You know, um and our concerns, like all the internal chatter and all the um stress and depression and anxiety and the things that are leading to addiction, and all of that stuff is in there as well, um and across all kinds of populations. As we know now, listening to silence as described in the book is actually not a passive act, something that takes effort, and it helps and our ability to regenerate the impulses and signals between different areas of the brain. I was just thinking about this in terms of sound sensitivity and autism hyper accuses. People actively are sensitive to sound. There are people who actively seek out silence and want to listen to silence, but society in many ways characterizes them as having something wrong with them. What can we do to remove that stigma? That's a really good insight and I've that really gets...

Chris to the essence of this book, which is that as a society, we can cultivate an appreciation for silence. We can cultivate a recognition that it's valuable to immerse ourselves in silence, to actively listen to silence. You know, as you mentioned this, there's this medical research. You know, there's there's evidence that that listening deeply to silence is something that's valuable for health. It's something that researchers at Duke University Medical School some years ago found that the act of listening to silence activates the auditory cortex of the brain, promoting the regeneration of neurons that have implications for our memory. So one of our goals in writing this book, Chris, was to build this awareness that this is something important for our health, something important for our thinking, something important for our relationships with other people, something important for our connection to our purpose in life. So we feel it as the awareness of this importance of of turning down the noise and this importance of tuning into silence. As this awareness grows, that stigma you're describing, we hope will decline and disappear. Mm hmm, Lee, any thoughts to that. No I thought that was beautiful and I love that you're pointing us in this direction. I'm just just a comment that I just my heart aches for those who have been really suffering from the levels of noise for so much longer that we've marginalized and minimized that types of suffering. Whether it's it's you know, someone who that with the extreme sensitivities you're describing, or even just introverts, or even our internal are are introvert. If we're extroverts, we all have sort of an introvert in us. There's been a lot of marginalizing those needs to this side. And personally, I can say because we mentioned addiction and things like this. I have certainly turned to some of these some deadening, numbing types of substances like wine to help manage that. And I feel like if we did address that on the on the more extreme ends of our thing, if we had done that, if we listened to those folks earlier, maybe we wouldn't be doing so much to generate more noise to mask and cover and medicate in all these ways that we do now. Seeking out what brings a person that quiet that is valuable is going to vary from person to person. What are some things that people can do in general to prioritize quiet? Mm hmm, it's worth mentioning that. We So we spoke with a professor of bio behavioral health and medicine, Joshua Smythe, who was the one to point us in that direction. Nos. We asked him about internal silence and what it was and for a good definition, and he said, quiet is what people think quiet is. Quiet is what people we would add feel and experience quiet to be. And he told us of a man in his study he does these large scale mindfulness studies who found his stress relief his quiet through chainsaw carving and so he was like, here he is, he finds himself in a state of complete flow and freedom of all those uh chatter, ruminative, worrying thoughts when he's carving up a big hunkle would like that in a flow state. So which also pointed us towards the real, vast ways many ways that we can find quiet. So this puts it back on us really for us to look. One thing we assert is that this is not something esoteric, This is not something this... not a life hack and not anything new for sure, this is something innate to being human. We find our way to quiet. We have found our way. Those ways might change over time, and it's just worth the inquiry. It's worth taking the time to appreciate what is it in our lives that creates silence and where can we use more of it in our lives. So for me, that getting out into you know, allowed studio of dance to dance and to teach and you know, joyfully like let all those thoughts and worries fall away and be present completely to my movement. For others we look at so we look at flow states of all types, including micro flow states like doodling and reading and things like that that aren't physically active. We look at moments of awe when you're just maybe you're gazing upon just some beautiful scene, some grand canyon, or even just watching a bee do its work in a day and you feel that connection and something falls away and something grander shows up. Or mystical experiences that happen um usually spontaneously and quite hard to measure. That are the kinds of things that that when we ask that question, what's the deepest silence you've ever known, people might go to those mystical experiences and births and deaths and moments of all like we're describing, as well as moments brought about through meditation potentially. But we didn't want this to be just about meditation, because that's not everyone's way, it's not even our way anymore. So we think the thing here is to really get experimental and interested in what's worked in the past and do these little experiments. We have a lot of suggestions in the book thirty three Ways to Finding Silence, and those are not meant to be prescriptive, but more meant to spark some interests that you might try it out or remember something about your own pathway and make more time for silence in your life. I want to talk out two different types of Camino experiences. Before before a movie starts, you've seen the messages that silence has going and turn off phones, don't talk during the movie. Things like that. What is the power of silence and a group setting that people may not appreciate. We talked in the book about how the power of silence is magnified when it's shared. And I love that example of being together in a movie because it's not just like being in a meditation retreat where you're all just deeply immersed in silence because you're there intentionally you know and have his interest in silence. But in a movie, it's like you all get the sound and stimulus together and then you let it settle in the silence. It's like we made meaning in a group in silence. And in the book we explore the power of group creativity in silence. All those centuries ago in Philadelphia during the Constitutional Convention, the delegates there a Constitutional Hall, had a giant mound of dirt build outside so that there wouldn't be any sound and distractions so that they could do their deep work of writing the constitution in Christine Attention Together, and how rare is that in our world today to have a setting like that where people get together to solve a difficult question or deal with a major need for a creative solution in Christine Attention. So in the book we explore the neuroscience of why this is so and how creative people explore what it means to be with other people in these spaces where we can focus deeply and almost hardest intuition collectively. Let's contrast that to another type of communal experience. Everyone enjoying a concert, singing along, people filling a connection not just to the artists...

...but to their peers that are jamming out. There's a lot of surrounding noise. But would this be considered a form of internal quiet or perhaps not? What do you think about it? It can be because one of those lee described before. In the book, we talk about auditory noise, informational noise, and internal noise. We talk about the noise in our ears and other words, on our screens and in our heads. And one of the most pernicious forms of noise in the modern world is self referential thought likely mentioned this statistic that we listen to an estimated three twenty State of the Union addresses worth of internal chatter, and in that concert experience when people are all grooving together, when people are in the rhythm together, when people are in the collective experience together, what happens for the vast majority of people who are in it. We are loving the music, we're loving the experience. Is that loss of talk to oneself about oneself. It's where we can get into what's sometimes called in the literature self transcendent experience. And this is one of the most profound kinds of silence. And when we first set out to write this book, we didn't think of this as a kind of silence because it could be high decimal, like you're talking about a concert, But it's an experience of truly pristine attention. And through our research and dozens of interviews with all these diverse, experdinary people, we realize that that's really what we're getting at here m hmm, and something fun that will often happen at an um at a concert like that. I just had this experience not long ago. There was so much joy and just reverie and you know, musicality, and you know all the celebration of life. And at the end of that concert we were all in there was this profound silence where no one wanted to break that by clapping and applauding. They just it was just like time was suspended and we were all in it together, and it was an extraordinarily long period of time before we began to clap. And Susan Sontag is this beautiful quote all paraphrase, the great art leaves silence in its wake. So there's a dance here. We think about that. You know, again, we're not being It's not just about auditory but that quietening of the internal chatter. And then what happens in a brilliant performer will I think, play with that and we speak with a Grammy winning opera singer who does a heavy metal frontman who does in the book, and just that consciousness of that collective effervescence that's happening in the group, and the silence and the sound and the musicality of it all justin Do you know that Lee recently went to an Iron Maiden concert. I think I don't know which content she went to. I just assumed, yeah, Iron made in Metallica, one of those yeah, now doing the band. You know, she's starting up a side Hustle is a guitarist and a heavy metal band. You heard in your first grading, you're breaking news. One of the consequences of the last few years is exacerbating loneliness and isolation, people not communicating, not communicating with others, I'm sorry, and making meaningful interpersonal connections. Do you think that these are scenarios where being enveloped by silence creates a lack of internal quiet? Mm hmm. Yeah. We do make a distinction between the silence we choose and that that which comes from our own evolition...

...and that which is imposed. And certainly this pandemic has imposed a lot of separation, a lot of isolation, a lot of loneliness. So that's quite distinct. But what I from, you know, from the silence, we're we're really trying to build that appreciation for but we we want to talk about all of it. For sure. What I have found is when people do come together, there can be there there's such a sweetness to that. And even the concert, I was just describing such a sweetness to that that there's wholeness in being together in silence. There's there's something like there's room for all of it, the grief and the joy and the sweetness, when we just hold a little bit more space for silence and not just all the small talk and things like that. I think it's in service to that, to re establishing those connections. There's almost too much to say. Yeah, right, and this is really I mean, I think what you're getting at lead in this and this really beautiful question. I think this gets to one of the key stories of the pandemic, and it's really still unfolding. But in the early days of COVID, you know, you could hear scientists could hear whale song again as some of the noise of ocean going vessel traffic was subsiding. People could hear birds. People were actually wondering whether the birds were getting louder in the early days of the lockdowns. But it turns out it wasn't. Then it was us. We were getting quieter and we could hear the birds. So there was this kind of promise in the early days of the pandemic that hey, maybe we are as a culture slowing down, maybe we are quieting down, and maybe this could be an opportunity to tune in again to what really matters, But you know, it's both alluded to. I think what happened was we saw that, you know, things just migrated more to social media, you know, and then it was an endless parade of zoom calls and webinars and and this and that and more time on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter, and that meant to kind of, you know, a kind of increase in noise ultimately kind of diminishing a meaningful conversation, inful connection. Do you think that there is some sort of linkage between success and careers, relationships, parenting, what have you by being able to tap into silence and we think we do, and we were learning that from the inside out and we're and it's not a like, it's not we're definitely enrolled in the curriculum. We joke like, okay, we took on this book. It's like it's not a simple just better, better, better. There's some looking at your own habits and look at the things you're avoiding, and looking at the you know, the noise you create and when when does it When is it masking a signal? And when is it just taking over? Um. Absolutely that the type of work we do in the world where people are working on complex issues such as climate change or removing toxic chemicals from products. There is a way to come at that, and many of us were doing this. We're just piling in more data, more power points, more meetings, some more things, and just back to back to back. That was not getting us anywhere we felt um. And so some of the solutions we saw that we're encouraging, that we've tried to participate on in is really getting us to a place where there's more time for reflection, where there's more time for quiet um internal contemplation. It combined with idea generation where maybe we're even going out into nature and really dropping into the reason we're trying to do this, what is it we're trying to protect, and what's really at stake. We could do say the same for our relationships. You know, there's a way when...'re running a family, as we both are, where things just become all about calendar ing things, and you're looking to your partner and it's just all about the calendar um and disappointment that and you kind of lose sight of the deeper intention and purpose and reason for being there. And that stuff is important, of course, and yet we need to still carve out that time together or you know, I do anyway to to really connect with you know, why have we Why are we doing this crazy thing called life together? What's the greater purpose? So we've heard people say it helps that silence helps them tune into the true, what's true in their heart. I've heard people, you know, describe it many different ways. Maybe it's sort of like an alignment piece or feeling a sense of harmony. But there is something we think about really getting connected to your deeper, deepest intention, your purpose, and if your reason for being. Our silence allows the space for those bigger questions and thoughts to come in. We think something that I'm curious about involves personality traits. Are some people better at tapping into inner harmony and tranquility than others? Because you know, when you think of the big five personality traits, one of them is extra version. Can someone on the low end of extra version that prefers to be solitary and reserved be more effective at tapping into inner harmony and tranquility than someone who's on the high end of extra version that is more outgoing. How do you think this works with the personality trait breakdown. One thing we really came to and writing this book was a desire to break through the kind of introvert extrovert binary when it comes to questions and noise and silent, Because one thing we found both in our own study of this, our own contemplation of this, and in all these conversations with academic experts in a variety of fields, is that silence is a universal need. It's something that's necessary for the health of our nervous system, for our ability to think clearly, irrespective of whether we're introverted or extroverted. You know, when Florence Nightingale during the Korean War was running a war hospital, she identified noise as the cruelest absence of care on a person sick or well. She identified, even before we had knowledge of what it meant to activate the fight or flight response, she identified essentially that that noise, this unwanted distraction, would create this kind of state of contraction in the nervous system that would impede thinking and healing. So all this transcends know that that binary between introvert and extrovert, this is something that is inherent to being human. It's something that each one of us in our own way can connect. So you know, if there are people I think you have more introverted tendencies might more readily tap into it. But we really want to promote the idea that everyone can find it in their own way, and that it's valuable for everyone to pursue it. That we also found that there's some real um, there's some collapsed meaning sometimes given between like silence. Sometimes voke books the idea that it's solitude that one has to find that silence. But you, as we already pointed out that shared silence is really profound and so it doesn't require necessarily being alone if that is your preference. But and it could another I guess a kind of a collapsing or association. Strong association tends to be silence and stillness. You know,...

...we of course we can be sitting in meditation and be still and experienced silence in that way. But silence and movement, flow states and different things like that is a great area of interest for us and seems to be how a lot of people universally find their quiet um. So and there's other sort of associations. So we really try to in in this book bring a lot of our dimensionality. Uh and to silence, which we think it has As one of our interviewers say, silence isn't the absence of noise, it's the presence of everything. And we really feel that this, this vast presence that's here, that is an incredible doorway to clarity, to healing, to connection, to life, to humility, to all kinds of wonderful things we could use a lot more of right now. You had many different areas of life within the book, health, socio politics, public policy. What led you to take a wide encompassing approach and discussing silence? You know, I think Chris is a reflection of who we are. You know, we don't come from a typical kind of background for writing a book about personal practice like this, like finding Silence. I worked for many years on Capitol Hill as a legislative director to three members of Congress. I worked a good bit in in terms of decision making in business and nonprofit organizations, and then also have a deep study of meditation mindfulness. Lee comes from decades of work and domestic violence prevention and working with ecological and consumer groups of taking toxic chemicals out of supply chains. And we both had these deep interest in Buddhist philosophy and Jewish philosophy, um, in the ritualized use of psychedelics in various fields kind of in the in the worldly work of the world, as well as in the work of contemplation and introspection. So for us, I feel like we just would have been remiss and we wouldn't be authentic in our own in our own natures, our own missions if we were to do this in a very kind of you know, prescribed narrow way. And also the the intuition that led to this this book, that led to this area of inquiry, as I mentioned before, was something really broad, you know, just this feeling of despondence around this feeling like, gosh, how are we actually going to bring more good to this world? How are we actually going to help make progress that isn't just one step forward two steps back. How are we really going to touch people's hearts and makes some makes some meaningful change right now? And this was the intuition that came to us. So so the the inquiry was really political as well as psychological and contectutive. And what is the biggest challenge in writing a collaborative book totally with the left. Well, I think this the laughter is really just it was. This is not a book we would have ever written alone. Um, this is a book that comes from the two of us, and it's been a miracle. Really, it's been fun. It's been blessed. It's made it a better book. It's like taken us both in different directions we couldn't imagined. It's super arched areas where we have overlap.

Um, it's been a joy. I mentioned before we started recording of the friend who introduced us said we could be brother and sister, and it's turned us into a brother and sister this whole process. So I highly recommend it. We hear all the time that this is a really really hard thing to do with another human, to find a collective voice to do this, you know, maybe one pulling more weight than the other. But we both gave it our complete are all and I wouldn't recommend doing it any other way. Has the reception of the book met or exceeded your expectations? Well, you know, we hadn't known at all what to expect. We're both first time authors, and uh, you know, we've been really pleased with with the response. You know, generally been able to get you know, writing in the Washington Posts and Boston Globe and Time magazine, with lots of other publications, many podcasts. Really happy to be here with you of this podcast. Um. But you know, more than anything, I think for us, the hope in terms of how this book would be received again came back to that that feeling of despondence that we had. Would this book be able to touch people in a way that would bring a little bit more hope, a little bit more sense of where we can go looking forward, a little bit more resource in terms of how people can find more clarity and calmness in a world that's so awash with noise and nervous energy. So in that respect, yeah, we've been I would say it succeeded my expectations, and so far as we've heard from a lot of people how this book is brought to them an appreciation of silence in their day to day, which in turn has brought more calmness and clarity in peace. Mm hmm. I might just add one little thing, and that is, Um, this week, we're pleased that Audible pick picked it up and and shared it and seemed to just you know, rock it up in terms of the numbers, and so one thing that really really brought us joy is that it was ranked as number one in audible under religious and spirituality, but then um and and number two in business, and that means a lot to us. That it could live, it could coexist, that's pretty much who we are in a nutshell, and like we care about these realms, and that it could touch the business world like it did the initial Harvard Business Review world, but then also be you know, having some traction and speaking to people in spirituality and religion. That is a dream come true. UM. So, as we've been taking us to different audiences, it's like there's no place it doesn't fit. Um. We rely upon that that beautiful nexus that happens, Like with you, Chris and all your research and what you're so passionate and informed about. It's like something new happens every time. It's it's the power of silence, we would say that does that. Yeah, it's resonating in different ways with different people. It's ranked in New Age Meditation, Spiritual Growth, self help, personal success in business. So I'm really glad delighted to see the success of the book. Hopefully it'll make Oprah's Book of the Month Club at some point in time. Maybe so that'd be awesome. Oh yeah, maybe making bank then, folks, I encourage you to check out the book. It's called Golden, The Power of Silence and a World of Noise. We have to cut the interview shortly. Has to prepare for a post malone concert. She's most concert every night. But I think Lee Mar's justin Zorne for your time, Grade...

A Nation. We'll see you next time. Take care,.

In-Stream Audio Search


Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (178)