There is so much noise in our daily lives that silence is almost unknown. When I worked for the church I would occasionally ask people to sit in silence for one minute. I actually timed it and after 30 seconds the fidgeting would begin.
There is not only no silence on the outside but there is little silence on the inside. Most of us have not learned how to shut off the voice in our heads. Since we have been so little exposed to quieting that voice it requires time and effort to learn how to do it. We decide that we want to try meditation and we can’t seem to settle and so we quit. It really is difficult to meditate in the beginning on your own. It is so much easier if there is a voice directing you. There are many Amazon Alexa apps that will take you through a meditation but even those aren’t always enough.
The best meditation I ever did was in a group with someone walking you quietly through the process. A really good leader can help you explore more depths that almost any other way. I have not found many meditation experiences except in yoga classes and most of them don’t meditate long enough for you to get into the place where you can let everything go.
I am hoping to start a group but I don’t know if I will have any takers. It remains to be seen.
Today is a new day. Today I pulled up my socks and decided to stop wallowing. Today I took some steps to move forward and it feels so good. I made some appointments that I need to do and made the decision to get on with it.
Doing this made me feel better. Now the idea is to keep it up. My experience shows me that I will have down days when I don’t want to keep moving. My prayer life has been perfunctory and an obligation except for the last prayer of the night from the New Zealand Prayer Book which is:
Lord, it is night.
The night is for stillness. Let us be still in the presence of God.
It is night after a long day. What has been done has been done; what has not been done has not been done; let it be.
The night is dark. Let our fears of the darkness of the world and of our own lives rest in you.
The night is quiet. Let the quietness of your peace enfold us, all dear to us, and all who have no peace.
The night heralds the dawn. Let us look expectantly to a new day, new joys, new possibilities.
This prayer brings me peace and prepares me for sleep. Now I need to find a way to make this same kind of connection during the day. I will do this by setting aside a time for prayer and meditation in the morning before the day gets in my way.
Prayer is so important. No matter what God you believe in prayer is the connection. You may just call it something else but it will involve silence and freeing your mind to acceptance, to wait upon God. We always need to expand our prayer life and learn to experience God. This is different from talking to God. This is immersing yourself in the creator and letting all else go. This is not easy and like anything good requires work and consistency. I plan to do the work. Pray for me!
Life moves on day by day, moment by moment. Sometimes you fail…sometimes things work out. Sometimes you just don’t know. Today some things became clear to me. I have a calling. I have a ministry that God wants me to use. How to do that is not for me to be concerned about at the moment. I am to continue the healing ministry that God wants me to do. Today I am clear about that. Maybe I won’t be so clear tomorrow but then I can back up and read this and know that I have been clear.
Today I listened, I paid attention, I heard. Now it is up to me to figure out how to accomplish this. The thing is when God speaks it is scary. Sometimes the things we have to do to follow can be something we don’t really want to do. Sometimes it takes too much waiting. That is the scary part. Sometimes we may be dragged by the scruff of the neck but we must go.
I will just take one day at a time. One step, one move forward, maybe a few steps back but always moving. Always trying to pay attention.
The most important part is to listen and keep listening. So hard to do when there is so much noise around us.
Silence is a useful tool but it can be difficult. Silence is useful if you want someone else to speak. Most people can’t sit in silence and if you are just quiet and wait they will speak. It is hard for us also. Too often we want to fill silence and will resort to anything to fill the space.
In church if you ask people to sit in silence the air will become tense in about 30 seconds. People will begin to shift in their seats. They want the silence to end.
I have occasionally sat in silence in a place that has a sense of holiness. After I have sat for a short while feeling fretful a sort of peace descends and I feel as if I could sit forever. I need to do more of that. Silence stills your soul.
Spending quiet time with yourself is not easy. It can be so revealing of things about ourselves we don’t want to know. And yet, it is just that silence and quieting of the mind that can make the most impact. In discovering ourselves the important thing to remember is that the past is past. What we do today…in this moment….is what really matters. Silence can bring us to the present moment.
I like to create “sacred space.” A place where I feel in the presence of God. It can be created with simple objects….things that are precious or meaningful. I like candles with scent. If I can manage to concentrate on those things I can feel calm. The trouble is I don’t do it enough.
We also spend most of our time in prayer talking TO God. We don’t spend much time listening for an answer. Maybe we think there won’t be one. Sometimes if I wait long enough thoughts come to my mind that come without bidding and with much wisdom. I prefer to think of this as God speaking.
God is always with us in the silence. We spend so much time talking to God that we forget to listen for him in the silence. Maybe the reason we don’t hear him speak more is that we don’t listen.
Our society doesn’t do silence. We are not set up for it. I have recently noticed some school programs that are teaching young children to meditate. I am glad that someone can see our dilemma. We have gone for so long being dependent on noise that silence is foreign.
Silence can be so scary. If we are anxious we don’t want to spend time with ourselves. TV or computer or whatever shuts down the voice inside is the answer. To think is to get more jittery. There is something about spending time with ourselves that is frightening. Thoughts race, heart rate increases, body responds to adrenaline.
The sad part about this is that silence could help us if we could tolerate it. Silence can mend the soul. It’s healing hands soothe us and bring peace. We have to find a way to explore silence as a safe place.