Counselor's Corner: Change your life through silence

Fred Cavaiani

I have been reading a book called “The Power of Silence.” This book emphasizes the importance of silence in every person’s life — a lot of silence. Then I read an article sent to me by a good friend called “The Neuroscience of Meditation.” It showed how mindfulness meditation changes our brains in very healthy ways. When we take time for silence and meditation our brains discover a deeper interconnectivity between everything. The white matter in our brains increases. The white matter in our brains is like fiber optic cables connecting the various parts of the brain. Science has shown that practicing meditation develops the channels of communication between the various parts of the brain. It creates a better connection between the left brain and the right brain. As a result meditation then helps a person’s ability to regulate intense emotions and stress. Now I can scientifically realize why people who meditate seem calmer and more peaceful in stressful situations.

Another positive effect of meditation is that it has been proven that meditators can help their brains to become younger and fresher. In other words, meditation keeps our brains from shrinking and becoming narrow minded in our viewpoints.

Another quality of daily meditation is that the amygdala, which fires off the body’s response to a fight or flight response and thus gets bigger at these times, becomes actually smaller with daily meditation and helps us to remain calm and focused in times of great stress. This was proven after examining people who had been meditating for eight weeks. It also showed that meditators reduce their stress hormones causing a person to go through life without intense reactions to stress and difficulties.
People who meditate also have a higher pain threshold and can endure physical difficulties in a very calm manner.

Finally it has been proven that meditators become more loving and compassionate and have a feeling of being more at ease over all.

All the above qualities were discovered scientifically by a study of the brains of meditators.

The rest of us have known this for years by our experiences with different people. We just never connected it with silence and meditation. Have you ever noticed that someone who is gentle and compassionate listens to you very carefully and speaks to you slowly with attentiveness and compassion. A study of Tibetan monks found that their gamma waves of love and compassion were off the charts, higher than anything ever recorded. It is like they had found the secret of happiness and compassion toward all.

In a noisy world we become rushed and distracted. In a quiet internal world we get a chance to listen to our deepest feelings. One of those deepest feelings is the profound desire to connect with something or someone who is awesome, loving and powerful. And when this connection is made, amazing things happen to us.

Meditation is not to be connected with some formal religion or denomination. It runs across the board of all religions. But it means that whatever religion or spiritual group you might belong to it becomes very important to have a lot of silence in your life. When this reflective silence is lacking, we can become very superficial in our attitudes and very condemning in our judgments. Everything can begin to bother us if we don’t take much silent time.

People who are always talking and condemning other people, places or situations are not men or women of silence. Just examine your own personal life. How often we can become critical and judgmental and engage in these kind of conversations when so often it is just wasted energy. It is at these times that we can realize that maybe we are not taking much internal silent time to experience someone and something bigger than ourselves.

The other day my grandson said that someone at school took them through a meditation and he really liked it. I was happy to hear that. My granddaughter once said: “Grandpa, when you get really quiet, does God come really close to you?”

When we get really quiet we give ourselves a chance to experience God in everything and everyone.

Lately I have even been turning off the radio in my car as I drive. I am amazed at what happens to me as I do this.

The power of silence is indeed amazing and helpful. Taking daily quiet time for meditation is so very beneficial to discover peace and joy and contentment. I always thought this but I have not always practiced this. Now that I do practice this and take a lot of daily quiet time for silence, I feel much better. Peace and an inner connectivity with everything and everyone becomes a daily experience of life. Silence and meditation is such a gift. The rest of my life I will open up deeper to this wonderful gift. And now I have some scientific proof to motivate me to keep this as a daily practice in my life. It reinforces what I have experienced for years. What a wonderful reinforcement!


Fred Cavaiani is a licensed marriage counselor and psychologist with a private practice in Troy. He is the founder of Marriage Growth Center, a consultant for the Detroit Medical Center, and conducts numerous programs for groups throughout Southeast Michigan. His column in the Legal News runs every other Tuesday. He can be reached at 248-362-3340. His e-mail address is: and his website is