If you haven’t seen it yet I would seriously recommend taking some time out to watch The Big Silence.
It’s a tiny wee mini series following 5 (lay) people as they explore the importance of silence within the Monastic tradition.
It’s really challenging. I never take time out in silence. I’ve been getting a kind of cabin fever these past few weeks: feeling an inexplicable need to get out of Edinburgh, longing for the beach or to be up a hill somewhere, but I think that actually I’ve just been missing silence. Life has been so hectic and crammed full of things that even days off and times of rest come with things to do “whilst resting”. Even this past week, in the 24-7 prayer room at church, I’ve noticed that I have to put a CD on in the background and feel like I have to be writing and reading lots. There is no silence any more.
So, during my 9am prayer slot yesterday (the most civilised hour of prayer yet, I might add), I just sat, in silence for about 45 minutes. It wasn’t easy. My brain is so full of junk that I just kept getting caught up in thoughts of busyness but there was, at least, a sense of peace, of stillness. And those 45 minutes flew by.
The best thing about the programme is that all five of the volunteers, only one of whom had faith before beginning the process, were met by God. All. Five.
I’ve always been a firm believer in the still small voice of God. The one that wasn’t in the earthquake or the storm or the fire but in the silence afterwards (1 Kings 19). So I’ve resolved to build more silence into life. More listening, less talking.