Find a stillness, hold a stillness, let the stillness carry me.
I have always like this song – 352 in the UU hymnal, – words by Carl G. Seaburg – a tribute to the potential of silence. Silence is a simple and always available avenue into a deeper contemplation of the self, the universe, the sacred. Or it can just be a breathing space, a moment to simply be in a busy world. This month, as we explore the theme of Sanctuary, let’s practice the lost art of silence.
Make room for silence in your life, find short spaces where you can be quiet – take a minute of silence before turning on the car, take a minute at your desk before beginning work, stop yourself before turning on a podcast or the tv, and simply sit for a moment. Try to stay silent for at least a minute.
This silence includes not checking your phone or reading a book. Just breathe and be and listen. What do you hear? What do you feel? See if the silence within is mirrored by silence outside of you. If you are disturbed by outside noise, you may have to be more intentional in seeking quiet places. Or you might appreciate the life going on around you, either way, keep to your silence and simply listen.
For couples or families, consider a silent meal. Make it an occasion: turn down the lights, dress up the table, and light candles. Eat the whole meal without speaking. Share your experiences afterwards. Did silence impact on your awareness of the food? Of each other? Was it enjoyable?
William Penn wrote: True silence is the rest of the mind; it is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment.
From October to May, I will offer UU spiritual practices twice a month, based on the Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga theme or the season.