The Discipline of silence.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

As I sit here, decompressing, the silence envelopes me.

I realize, much to my surprise, that I am always surrounded by noise. In fact, I think I need the noise, to distract me, to keep me comforted.

I suppose that in the noise and busy-ness of life, I feel productive, like I'm accomplishing something. If I'm reading or listening to something, or watching something, I feel like I'm not wasting time.

Last night, after a day of no external noises, we turned on the TV to watch The Daily Show. It was a good one, (Turd miners!) and we laughed lots. But after that half hour I noticed how it took time to re-establish the sense of stillness that had enveloped us throughout the day.

I was surprised.

Surprised at the effect of a half hour noisy interruption. Surprised at how sensitive I had become to the quiet. Mostly I was surprised at how much hard discipline it takes to enter into a quite space and time.

I guess I do rely on noise to make me feel like I'm doing something, because stillness is seen as a weakness in our society. The work of listening or reading or watching increases my knowledge. But, what about the work of stillness.

Stillness makes me aware of the needs of my own body. I realize that I am tired, or need activity. Or I can sense when I've eaten enough. These things are not desensitized by the noise of life I usually live in.

And God. God gets louder when my surroundings get quieter. The stillness creeps up, and I find I can hear again, Him. And he speaks to me, gently, with love. And I can hear him.

Still, the fight rages within me to turn something on, to find comfort or distraction from the things He wants to tell me. But I like this solitude.

I wonder where this quiet road ends.


  1. Turd miners???!

    Excavators of poo?

    Diggers from the faecal tunnel?


    Maybe I'm lucky, but I don't have a TV, and the quiet place isn't too unfamiliar. It still take discipline to go there, but it's a place I'm used to and happy to be in. I have my time of being noisy too, don't worry about that (just listened to REO speedwagon's 'More than a feeling' - certainly noisy enough ;-)

    But tommorrow morning I'll be quiet.

    Actually, maybe that's why my favourite time to prepare for worship is 6.30am on a Sunday morning. The rest of the world is asleep still, and can't get in the way.

  2. Actually 'more than a feeling' was by Boston.



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