I’m a long term meditator and know the self-development genre extremely well. However, I’m actually extremely particular about what books I do read in this genre – no woo woo for me. I want my personal development books to be backed by research, academia or extensive experience and objectivity… so I was excited to get my hands on a copy of Turning Down the Noise by Christine Jackman.
Respected journalist Christine knew her life looked successful – an executive position in Sydney, a house in a harbourside suburb, meetings with CEOs and phone calls with government ministers – but it didn’t feel that way. Inside, she felt constantly off balance, her thoughts and internal compass – as well as her ability to care for the people she loved most – drowned out by the noise in her life. Sound familiar? I think a lot of us can relate to this.
Using her journalistic background, Christine embarked on a quest for a better way of being. Turning Down the Noise follows her journey as she explores what is happening to our brains, our lives and our communities as we navigate a never-ending assault on our senses and attention, whether from actual noise, exposure to media or the pings and alerts on our phones. More importantly, she reveals how we can reverse the damage through simple daily acts designed to strip out the stimuli and reclaim the silence.
I particularly loved the section dedicated to the Vipassana 10-day silent retreat that she attended. I studied Vipassana for a few years and the silent retreat is tough! But you don’t need to have any experience with a silent retreat or even meditation to learn from, and be entertained by, this section.
Seeking ways to channel and capture the clarity and peace of mind so often lacking in our lives, Christine writes with a lightness of touch, sharing her own experiences and digging into her subject with the zeal of an investigative journalist and an enquiring mind. She seeks out the best ways to regain clarity and peace of mind in a busy and noisy world, and then shares those with the reader in a way that both experienced meditators and those simply wanting a little peace in their lives can relate to.
Christine addresses work, media overload, nature, contemplation and other ways to bring silence into your life. Never preachy, she writes in a way where you feel you’re on the journey of discovery with her. The backmatter includes an extremely helpful Silence: How-To Guide and the notes at the end have links and further reading if you decide to continue on the quest to find some balance and silence in your life. I think we all need silence and self-reflection, but I understand how difficult it can be to make space for that. Turning Down the Noise is an excellent place to start. I highly recommend it.