“Silence is something like an endangered species. The experience of silence is now so rare that we must guard it and treasure it.” ~ Gunilla Norris, Inviting Silence …
I love to spend a few minutes of my early morning in prayer; it is the one time of my day that I can usually guarantee will be surrounded by silence. And there in the silence, I can hear everything–the thoughts in my head, the voice of my Creator, the invitations of the day, the promises of joy and happiness, the hope of purpose. I feel that I am lucky to recognize the treasure that it is; the treasure that lies before each of us in solitude.
Societies and cultures of today tend to try to do as much as possible, as quickly as possible. It often seems as if we are trying to cram our minds with as much information as we possibly can, filling our moments with multitasking and sensory overload–whether it is listening to music in the car or at home, being on a cell phone, reading books or newspapers, watching television and movies, watching videos or reading news on the computer, or anything that streams information into our minds making it impossible for them to simply rest. In fact, a recent Nielsen report found that the typical household has a TV on for an average of over 8 hours a day, and the average person spends more than 4 and a half hours sitting in front of it–that adds up to over two months of sitting in front of a TV.
Of the estimated 60,000 thoughts we have each day, rarely do we allow ourselves the opportunity to hold a conversation with them–to study them, question them, listen to them, and understand them. Many of us find silence uncomfortable, but with all the noise, it is nearly impossible for us to effectively hear ourselves think, let alone make thoughtful decisions based off of those thoughts. But there is a solution–mindfulness: the discipline of being fully attentive to what we are doing. It has been shown that practicing mindfulness makes us more efficient, reduces our stress, imbues control into our lives, and improves our overall health physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually.
Silence is golden. It is a stimulus that allows us to go inside of ourselves, to find the reserves of love, compassion, hope, forgiveness, generosity, strength, and ability. It allows us to explore our thoughts, ponder things that are confusing us, reflect on things that we have recently learned, and then clarify them in our lives. Silence is a powerful balm for the ailments of our body, soul, and mind. It truly is a treasure, and an endangered species, especially now that most of us carry our phones with us wherever we go.
Do not always seek to fill your silence with sound; be silent, be still. It is there, in the solitude of the present moment, where the gaps between our thoughts, our awareness, and our existence converge.
Set aside some time for silence today.
Questions to consider:
When and where are your best times and places for experiencing silence?
Why do so many people feel uncomfortable with silence?
Why is silence considered to be a treasure for so many?
For further thought:
“True silence is the rest of the mind, and it is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment. It is a great virtue; it covers folly, keeps secrets, avoids disputes, and prevents sin.” ~ William Penn, Fruits of a Father’s Love: The Advice of William Penn to His Children