Understanding silence

“Researchers have the ability and resources to explore their questions—and I always have questions.”

Senior Rukmini Deva, an undergraduate researcher in the UNC College of Arts & Sciences majoring in biology and minoring in religious studies, has questions about silence. “Why did I choose to study silence as a vehicle of communication? It’s an inner journey, but saints have paradoxically attempted to describe the experience with words,” she said. Her research focuses on monastic silence—a lifetime of voluntary commitment to silence and/or “stillness.” Last summer, she traveled to a Trappist monastery in South Carolina and a Yogoda ashram in India to explore why silence is used as a vehicle of deeper thought and spiritual experience.

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Deva conducted research with funding from the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program, which is designed to enhance the educational experience of undergraduates by engaging them in research opportunities.

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