How to practice silence each day … and why

Monday 9th May see’s Space to Breathe relaunch in silence.

It’s an odd idea to try and speak by saying nothing but surprisingly silence has always been a loud voice in our world.

You might try it this way:

  • Find a comfortable and peaceful place.  Maybe a room in your house, your garden, by a river or the sea, maybe a hidden spot in your workplace.  (I used to be silence in a store cupboard !)
  • Take a few moments to settle yourself, take some deep breath’s and relax.
  • Begin your time of silence.
  • Don’t worry if things come into your mind or you get distracted.  Be aware of what’s come into your thoughts, be thankful or ponder it and settle again.
  • Finish your silence with a few deep breath’s again and take a moment to be thankful.
  • At the end of your time (we recommend 5 minutes to start with) jot down any thoughts or impressions.  If you’d like to, share your thoughts @space2breathe with the hashtag #silencechallenge – we’d love to hear from you.

Why should I try this?

Men and women from monastic orders have practiced silence for as long as records exist.  Some would spend time in silence as a prayer.  Meals sometimes taken in silence to experience something mystical in meeting together.  Days, weeks, spent tin silent retreat giving space for God … a spiritual voice echoing in the silence.

Silence is a practice which can create a different and hollow centre in each of us.  That might feel a little odd but it’s idea is this – we are full and we benefit from making spaces which are empty and available.  If you feel like can be a little overwhelming or if you feel your time and resources are all used up then you might find silence helps you.

Think of all our rushing around.  Do we ever have space to notice things?

Think of all our busy tasks filling our time.  Do we ever have space to be rather than do?

Think of all the demands on us.  Is there ever a moment when we can be available – to ourselves, to others or to God?

“The glory of God always shows itself in an empty space… We have to make a home for the Word to come and dwell among us, a space for God to be.” \

(From a lecture given by a Dominican Abbot to the World Congress of Benedictine Abbots, in Rome in September 2000) 

The availability of silence is found through a rhythm – a little like breathing.  We create voids, empty spaces in our lives, a place for God to be if we want, a space to be spiritual in whatever way we understand that. To do this we need to let go of our business and our agendas and be open to invitations and interruptions.

Silence creates a hollow centre in us.

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