There is an ashram not far from where I live that does silent retreats. I have a Hindu acquaintance who just got back from one. When I asked him what it was like to not talk (like, AT ALL) for a week, he told me several interesting things:
-That being silent actually seems to "shut off" the language center of your brain and "turn on" or "awaken" other parts. The tendency is to think within the constraints of your language, which strongly color your persepective, and when you silence it, it "opens you up.".
--That mediations and dreams are made more intense when the "clutter and noise" of speech is cleared.
-That being silent with others develops an almost "telepathic" (his word, not mine) sense of communication among them. I assumed he meant that you are forced to heighten your awareness of other social cues like facial expressions and body language. But when I asked him if this is what he was trying to convey, he said no, literally he felt like he could "hear" their thoughts, even while lying awake at night in the open dorms
Assuming you were in an environment where it could be done practically, would you ever consider taking a vow of silence temporarily? Either for spiritual reasons, or simply as an experiment?
What is the longest you've ever been silent? Written communication counts.
How do you think you would be effected by a significant time in silence?