Monday, December 20, 2010

Season of Silence

I have been drawn to spending more quiet time recently.  I think it has something to do with the longer nights and the feeling of "cocooning" that winter engenders in me.  In the Celtic calendar, the winter months are a time for incubation and practices such as contemplation, writing and reading.  Even though outwardly things look barren, it is a time of rich interior growth.

I recently finished reading Listening Below the Noise: The Transformative Power of Silence by Anne LeClaire.  Anne practices total silence two days every month.  Her book tells how this practice has transformed her.  She says: "Listen and in the quiet you will hear the direction of your heart."  Total silence two days a month is a revolutionary thought in our world where we are bombarded by noise everywhere we go.

The theme of silence seems to be recurring for me at present as it also presented itself in a newsletter from Stanbrook Abbey which I have quoted below.  Stanbrook Abbey is home to a community of contemplative nuns living according to the rule of St. Benedict in New Yorkshire, England.

"Silence in our present age has become a rare commodity.  Wherever we go there always seems to be some form of background noise.  It is as though our present age has become almost frightened of silence, not the type of silence that hides anger or displeasure but the type that allows you to listen with an expectant heart.  What are we frightened of hearing?"

I hope to listen more during this season of silence.


Joanne Huffman said...

Another aspect of silence is that it can be an incredible communal experience - when you create silence with others, there is a bonding amongst you.

Catherine Anderson said...

Yes, Joanne, I agree with you. Thank you for adding this. When you are completely comfortable with who you are with there is often no need to talk - your eyes can say all that needs to be said as you are communicating at a deeper level.