Since Space to Breathe started its life, Silence has been an important part of all we do. In 2015 we began our first Silence Challenge, encouraging people to spend one month taking 5 minutes of silence each day and to see what happens. Since then hundreds of people have tried silence in their lives, some for the first time and with wonderful results. It seems silence makes a difference.
Now we’ve launched a new multi-media resource called Entering Silence (see below for ordering details or follow the link) and we’re encouraging people to take the upcoming season of Lent which begins on Wednesday 14 February to make silence part of their lives. Would you be willing to spend 5 minutes in silence each day during Lent, and see what happens? Entering Silence will give you stacks of resources to help you and we think there’s many reasons why silence can help bring wonder, health and light to each of our lives.
Traditions which have engaged in silence tell us that this space enables us to listen to our own selves. Our ‘Inner Compass’ is something which is harder to find and can be drowned out by the noise of everyday life. Silence can give us a little glimpse into who we really are.
Men and women from monastic orders have practiced silence for as long as records exist. It 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?
Silence has advocates too in the world of health and wellbeing with studies conducted in the last 15 years suggesting it can improve sleep, aid memory and reduce blood pressure.
Being silent also has significant psychological advantages, giving space to reflect, becoming more self aware and bringing a sense of peace and calm which can aid anxiety.
Over the course of our work we’ve seen silence help people and we’d love to encourage you to give it a try. Many of our team will be taking time to be silent during Lent and we’re going to share our experiences on social media using the hashtag #silencechallenge. Why don’t you join us?
If you’re new to being silent 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 silent in a store cupboard !)
- Take a few moments to settle yourself, take some deep breaths 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 breaths 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.
My hope is that silence might become part of your world going forward. Why not give it a go?
“We need to find God and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence – in nature, trees, flowers and grass – they grow in silence; see the stars, the moon, the sun – they all move in silence – we need silence to touch our souls” (Mother Teresa)
Entering Silence is a pack available for download at Proost.co.uk. It contains a 28 page PDF booklet, five meditative movies, a silence track and 16 original photographs. During Lent it will be free to download but will cost £5 in the UK at other times.