Moving Beyond the Noise to Pristine Attention with Leigh Marz and Justin Zorn

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We spend a bulk of our time in a very boisterous world of noise. We are in a constant deluge of information and chat whether it is from our email and social media, or the 24-hour news cycles with its constant announcements of breaking news. Even our households can be filled with noise. Despite 40 years of mindfulness trainings, we’ve yet to be successful in getting beyond the noise in our own heads. Studies have shown that noise has ramped up to ever higher decibels and we can all agree there exists a deficient of silence in our noise-soaked lives. Here we explore how to lessen both the exterior and interior noise in order to be able to hear our own intuition and tune in to our creative gifts. Zorn says, “Silence is more than the absence of noise; it's the absence of unwanted distraction, unwanted interference in our ears, on our screens, and in our thoughts…So much in the world is colonizing our attention, making claims on our consciousness…Silence is the place where nothing is making claims on our consciousness…We’re in a place of presence where nothing is interfering with our perception or our intention. (hosted by Justine Willis Toms) 


Justin Zorn has served as a senior advisor for Policy and Strategy at the Center for Economic and Policy Research. He has also served as a meditation teacher in the U.S. Congress and is a Harvard-and-Oxford-trained specialist in the economics and psychology of wellbeing. 

Leigh Marz is a collaboration consultant and leadership coach for major universities, nonprofit coalitions, and federal agencies.

Marz and Zorn are the cofounders of Astrea Strategies whose purpose is to help businesses, nonprofits, and leaders find creative and enduring solutions in living beyond the noise.

They are the co-authors of Golden: The Power of Silence in A World of Noise. (Harper Wave 2022)

To learn more about the work of go to 

Topics explored in this dialogue include:

  • Why noise matters regarding quality of life
  • What are the three kinds of noise: Auditory,
  • How silence is more than the absence of noise
  • What was the Hewlett-Packard study of how noise affects IQ
  • How interruptions that cause a shifting of attention has a cost
  • How noise in schools in impoverish areas lead to students significantly lagging in test scores
  • Why we must build “down time” in order for creativity to flow
  • Why we need to re-calibrate how we measure progress and the health of our economy from the standard GDP
  • Why silence is scary
  • How silence can also be a complicity to complacence, censorship, and injustice
  • How immersive silence is not a lack of noise.
  • What was Justine’s experience of collective silence at Jennifer Berenson’s “Praises for the World” presentation
  • What was Zorn’s experience of Republicans and Democrats meditating at the U.S. Capital
  • What has Zorn and Marz learned from Jarvis Masters who is incarcerated on death row in San Quentin for a crime he did not commit
  • What Jesuit Priest and former political activist Cyrus Habib’s life teaches us about following the signals of the heart
  • How silence is not about withdrawing from the world but leads to a deeper connection to it 

Host: Justine Willis Toms   Interview Date: 6/30/2022   Program Number: 3763

Music Playlist

From Album: A Windham Hill Retrospective
Artist: Alex DeGrassi
1992 Windham Hill (2010 Valley Entertainment reissue) 2-VWH-21011

Opening Essay: Track 01 Overland
Music Break 1: Track 06 Blue Trout
Music Break 2: Track 05 Clockwork

Music Break 3: Praises for the World (excerpt)
Jennifer Berezan – Praises for the World