Tag Archives: silent retreat

Back Amidst the Noise

Too much noise. Too much stuff.

That’s what I concluded after two days of silence.

It took a good four hours to still my chattering mind, but after a full day of silent meditation, reading, knitting, thinking, praying, I had a very interesting night, of not tossing and turning, but just gentle contemplation and quiet resting. A storm raged outside, so I was snug in my little lakeside cabin, feeling grateful and calm. Sometime, apparently, I fell asleep, because when I awoke, it was morning, and I felt calm and refreshed.

I took a long walk in the weird storm aftermath, and watched the turbulent surf. Then I came back to town, met Al at his jobsite and broke my silence with an “I love you.” Then we went to lunch and talked about how to bring more silence to our lives, and how to simplify so we have room for more quiet, more calm.

The more stuff we have, the harder we have to work to maintain it, insure it, worry about it… you get the idea. The less stuff, the more peace. Enough should be enough.  

I read three slim books. Inviting Silence, Stillness, and Listening Below the Noise. All were excellent. Inviting Silence reminded me that it’s difficult to hear the voice of God amidst the din; Stillness talked of enough being plenty, and too much is what makes us noisy; and Listening Below the Noise taught me that nothing is so important that it can’t be addressed the following day. In nine years, the author never missed a day of silence, which she takes on the first and third Monday of every month. Everything else can wait.

I have plenty of solitude in my life; I’ve long known how my soul needs solitude. But silence is new to me. No radio, no music, no talking… it was refreshing, and made time for good reflection. I had many things to ponder.  With a clear, calm mind, many of those decisions that have to be made are not really decisions at all, as the solutions are obvious.

Bottom line: I will make room for silence in my life on a daily basis. I don’t need to go on a retreat for it, I just need to make it a priority. And I will, because the gifts therein are worthwhile.

If you want to do a silent retreat, I suggest: 1. Have an intention. 2. Make a plan. 3. Bring activities. 4. Be open to whatever happens.

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Filed under peace, Possibilities, Spirituality, Stress

Preparing for Silence

Sunday morning, I will wake up silent, and will not speak until Monday night. This is in response to a class assignment, to engage in a spiritual practice I’ve never done before, and then write a publishable article about the experience.

Well, I’ve never been silent for more than a few moments at a time in my entire life, but it strangely appeals.

I’ll take books, writing materials and my knitting. I’ll take long walks, meditate, write, read, knit, engage in centering prayer, and just hang out with myself, wearing a sign that says “I’m Silent Today” just in case. No television, radio or internet. I’m going to be in a beautiful place, and this is going to be an interesting experience.

Do I have an intention for this experience? Not yet, but I’ll be working on that between now and then. I’m looking forward to it with mixed emotions of eager anticipation and a little fear of being disappointed in the experience. I believe the most spiritual practice of all is being gentle with others, so to be alone and silent is a little antithetical to my way of thinking, but I’m very willing to be wrong about that.

So stay tuned. I’ll be back on Monday night, and will write about my experience on Tuesday. If any of you have suggestions for me before I shut down the internet Saturday night, please post them.

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Filed under Discipline, Spirituality