The Sounds of Silence
Have you experienced silence today (or ever)?
Take 60 seconds and turn off any noisemaking devices, and simply sit in silence for 60 seconds………(go ahead)……..and observe your surroundings…
How was it? What did you notice? Go ahead and jot down or mentally make a list of the things you observed in those mere 60 seconds. Here are mine:
- clock ticking
- stale air
- dog barking in the neighborhood
- sound of rug underneath my feet
- cars driving by
- smell of this morning’s coffee
- bright sunlight creating shadows on the walls
- slight ringing in my ears
- sound of my body inhaling/exhaling slightly deeper breaths
Silence is used by God and by people throughout the Bible.
In Psalm 62:5-6, the poet declares, “My soul, wait in silence for God only, for my hope is from God. Only God is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be shaken.” Ecclesiastes 9:17 states, “The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools.” Silence cleanses our minds, hearts and perspectives to focus on what God is directing us to. We all know that many things and people compete for our attention; silence clears out all of the “noise” to let us refocus our priorities. (This excerpt from Fr. Richard Rohr takes some of the mystery out of silence and highlights its practicality.) This silent or contemplative practice of time and prayer with God takes practice–we can’t all be monks overnight! But as a practice, it is an invaluable tool we can add to our spiritual toolkit. And by “spiritual,” I mean “surviving the most stressful Monday ever” tool. You know, chocolate and silence are pretty important to thrive.
60 seconds for a Week
If contemplative practice is new for you, try an app on your phone (like Calm, Headspace or Insight Timer) that has soothing music and a timer to keep you focused. Start with one minute a day for one week. Then, like exercise, you can gradually increase your time to a few minutes a day, then 10, then 15, or whatever works for your life. I promise, once it becomes a habit, you might crave it (like coffee, ha). It is time you have set aside to tell God that you think God is important and a priority in your life. You are taking control of your time while also relinquishing control to God. If you’re able, journal or jot down a few thoughts or observations that come in during these times of silence. (I use a Google doc that is getting longer by the week, but it’s easy to access from anywhere.) Some people even think of one word to describe their mood or silent time with God, and they write that word in their calendar’s daily box.
If silence or meditation makes you a bit uneasy, keep in mind that God’s people have been practicing it for thousands of years. Even Jesus stepped away on many occasions to go off and pray to His God (and the disciples sometimes napped…oops).
Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about [meditate on] these things.”
Psalm 49:3 “My mouth shall speak wisdom; the meditation of my heart shall be understanding..”
Psalm 49:3 “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”
- Check-in: Where are you experiencing silence? How can you embrace it more often? (Either write down your thoughts or share with a trusted one.)
- Action/Inaction: What are some ways you can seek to discover silence and connection with God this weekend? What is one thing you can set aside to provide space for silence?
- TIme with God: God, thank you for the freedom to spend silent time with you. You have given me the gift of a mind and a heart that always have capacity for me to discover and embrace. Open my eyes to surprising and thought-provoking places to experience silence, as I continue to seek Your wisdom and guidance. In Your Son, Jesus’, name we pray, Amen.
I thank God for this opportunity to spend 5 minutes of your precious time with you. Happy weekend!!