06 May Silence
In the ancient Psalm we read the words ‘Be still and know that I am God’ (Psalm 46.10). To be still, and enter into silence, can feel very uncomfortable, especially in our loud world that values busyness and productivity so highly. However, daring to enter into stillness can create the space for both greater authenticity and for healing. If you decide to engage with a silent prayer practice you are invited to come back to this daily. However, at least at first, instead of trying to sit in silence for a long time, just begin by sitting for only 2 or 3 minutes at a time. You can then build up from this.
Some further thoughts about a silent practice
- For this time of stillness you may like to light a candle as a symbol of being open to the light of Christ. Alternatively, you may like to make a cup of tea to quietly enjoy as you rest in God’s presence.
- Once you have set a timer (initially for 2 or 3 minutes), resist all devices, books and distractions and simply be still and seek to be present to God, who is already present to us.
- Don’t give up, even if the silence feels awkward or empty at first. As we enter silence as a practice in an ongoing way, we can begin discover that the silence is not empty but is full with God’s attentive presence.
- A word of warning, when we begin to engage with a practice of stillness we can start to discover how loud (and often negative) our thought patterns are. As well as this, the fears and hurt that we run from can begin to come to the surface. This can be confronting and, likely, contributes to people quickly giving up this practice. However, coming back to silence, as an ongoing practice, creates space for God to begin the slow work of healing us (while we live in denial of our wounds it is a lot harder for us to encounter healing).
For further exploration you may like to engage with one of the following authors:
- Christine Valter Painter The Soul’s Slow Ripening: 12 Celtic Practices Seeking the Sacred (see the chapter on Solitude and Silence)
- Richard Rohr – for a short blog post reflection go to: https://cac.org/sacred-silence-2020-01-09/ – for a longer read try: Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer
- Thomas Merton Contemplative Prayer