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Listening Below the Noise: The Transformative Power of Silence Paperback – 2 Feb 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (2 Feb. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061353361
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061353369
  • Product Dimensions: 12.4 x 1.6 x 18.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 148,106 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Paperback. Pub Date: 2010 Pages: 256 in Publisher: Harper Perennial When Anne D. LeClaire decided to turn an ordinary Monday into a day of silence. little did she variously realize she had begun an inner voyage that would transform her life.In the seventeen years since. LeClaire has practiced total silence two days each month. By detaching herself from the bustle of her hectic lifestyle and learning to listen to her deepest self. she has found a center from which to live-one that tests. strengthens. and heals her. In practicing silence. she has discovered her own secret garden-a cloistered. sacred private place where true personal growth is possible.In this eloquent book-part memoir. part philosophical inquiry. written with clarity and warm humor-LeClaire reflects on how silence can help us expand our awareness. ignite and nurture creativity. and achieve inner peace.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Listening Below The Noise

By Anne D. LeClaire

Once in a while, at a dollar book sale, I'll find a treasure. This book is that and a heck of a lot more. Think of it as a quiet walk in the woods or a stroll along the lakeshore with the only company being you and the path ahead. Sure, you'll encounter a root or stone along the way, but you may also find something you hadn't considered. You.

"Somehow we have become estranged from quiet and have developed not only a low tolerance for it, but an almost outright fear of it...Thus we spend moments and hours and days, weeks and months and years of our precious lives overworked, overbooked, and overcommitted, cramming more into every fragmented day."

The idea of silence, of having a cloistered place was initially inspired by author LeClaire's love of the book "The Secret Garden" and how that walled in and neglected garden struck a chord and began her journey.

"I was discovering the glorious paradox that deliberately claimed silence could serve as the bridge to finding my authentic self. It was silence, after all, that was leading me back to my center and serving as a path to empowerment and self-knowledge."

Throughout this book, the author struggles with finding not only the time to delve into an entire day of silent time, but also the courage to ask those around her to try and honor her practice. The most difficult person to get onboard was her husband, the fisherman, Hillary. Though he was gone most of the day and their children were grown and had moved away, they spent nights and weekends together. At first he shunned the idea and figured it was a temporary `new thing.' Over time he came to respect it and learned to honor her need for a day of silence.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 50 reviews
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Interesting BUT .... 22 April 2011
By Malini L. Goculdas - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I was intrigued by this book initially because the author decided to observe a silent day twice a month. She has faithfully done this now for seventeen years, occasionally observing longer time periods, even an entire week, in complete silence. The book documents her observations and experiences. Silence has changed her life.

At first, it is difficult for Anne's family and friends to accept that she will not take calls or talk at all on certain days. Then they begin to realize that certain things are not that important, they can wait a day. Anne begins to notice that she is getting calmer and more peaceful. The buzz of modern society begins to feel like an onslaught - the volume in a movie theatre is too much, for example. She begins to turn more and more towards nature, developing deeper appreciation of natural rhythms.

Along the way, she finds inpiration and wisdom among the world's spiritual traditions. After all, solitude and contemplation have been a prerequisite to enlightenment for many religious leaders. I found this aspect of the book a bit trite, because she draws on the usual suspects one would find on a Barnes and Noble religion or philosophy shelf.

In the end, however, I admit to some annoyance. Anne is a writer, her children are grown and away at college, her husband the naturalist is out of the house much of the time. She spends most of her day in solitude anyway. She comes from a certain background - white middle class New Englander - and lives out on Cape Cod year round; there is an inherent insularity already. What she has accomplished is not the big stretch it would be for someone in different circumstances. She is told as much by an Irani author that she meets at a writer's retreat. She dismisses his words initially by assuming he must be "a little drunk." She later realizes that silence has a shadowy side, where it is imposed on someone. But I get the impression she cannot really relate to this other perspective, she has neither the cultural background nor the ability to explore it deeply.

Also I would like to ask the author why she talks about long periods of meditative silence, but doesn't actually meditate. She would get the same benefits (and much more) in a shorter timeframe!

On the whole I enjoyed the book because I am also drawn to periods of quiet. The white spaces in our lives are very important, like pauses between musical notes that contribute to the overall score. Taking the book as merely a private view is the right perspective. It is one woman's personal journey, and a worthy one at that.
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
"Listening" is a real gem 13 May 2009
By Linda H. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Reading Anne LeClaire's latest work, Listening Below The Noise, is a lot like peeking into someone's journal. But instead of having to sneak the read, LeClaire openly invites us to become privy to some of her most intimate thoughts and experiences as she recounts her journey over the past 16 years on the practice of silence. Through LeClaire's writing, the reader is introduced to a simpler, more honest way of noticing, approaching, and interacting with the world around us, the people in our relationships, and our ownselves. This is not a self-help book or how-to book, but rather a friend's perspective on a practice that has enhanced her life so much that she wants to share it with us.

This is a touching memoir of sorts, beautifully written, illustrated with lovely photographs that seem to capture the very essence of the written words. I found the book so provoking, I read it twice and it has quickly become a favorite gift for friends. LeClaire's insights and experiences offer poignant lessons for us all and I would consider it a must read for anyone searching for a path to honesty and simplicity in his or her own life.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A Reminder to all of us that "Silence is Golden" 8 Jun. 2009
By Dorothy Grant Cohen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
A beautiful book reminding us that we all need to take some quiet time alone to reconnect with nature, our heart, spirit and being. Anne LeClaire's memoir of silence is a peek into her life and how she manages to create quiet time for herself. Her conversational way of writing made me feel like she was speaking directly to me. Thank you Anne for sharing how silence has made a difference in your life.

By nature I am a quiet person and easily overwhelmed by a lot of noise. I would love to devote a whole day to silence but until I can, I have started to drive in silence-no more radio-and I find I am much more relaxed by the time I get to where I'm going. This is a book I will read again and again. It's also going to be a book I will give as a gift. If all the noises of life have you exhausted or overwhelmed, this book will bring you back to center and give you the tools and ideas you can use to bring some peace into your life.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Life changing 18 July 2009
By Wendy Levine - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Listenin Below The Noise changed my personal view of the world and my place in it. It is beautifully, poetically written and the wisdom in the book speaks to me every day.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Changed my life! 4 July 2009
By Jamie - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
"Listening Below the Noise" was a wake up call and truly changed my life and the way I approach my work. While I haven't gone for an entire day without talking yet, I now spend two hours alone in my bedroom every morning writing. Sometimes I work on my book, but sometimes I just journal and daydream. Still, I have found that this sets the tone for my day and when I do re-enter the world, I am so much more grounded and I have so much more to give. Anne LeClaire's book is truly an inspiration. It's beautifully written, intelligent, at times funny and always personable. I love the texture of the pages, the photographs. What a great gift too. I highly recommend this modern masterpiece--make it your own Secret Garden!
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