Recently I was talking about how I struggle with silence. A friend of mine (Richard) from my Church Small Group recommended that I watch a series that was filmed on the BBC a few years ago. It's called The Big Silence and its a documentary on how 5 people react/adapt to including regular periods of silence throughout their day.
The Priest who was running the project was aiming for the candidates to be able to include a time of silence in their everyday lives (even in the busyness). The documentary follows the candidates at an initial silent weekend retreat to a monastery and then onto an 8 day silent retreat and beyond.
What I found interesting watching it was initially all of the candidates really struggled keeping the silence - all of them wanted the interaction, craved it almost. Like they all were behaving like they were coming off of drugs or something, moody, restless etc. Initially they found it hard to focus or meditate on one thing. But by the end of the 8 day retreat all of them had had some kind of profound experience with God and seemed to be ok with the silence.
I didn't mention, apart from one, all the others were non-Christians when they started the project. How crazy is it that after 8 days of no real other distractions, all of them met with God in some way?! What's more crazy is that only one actually started going to Church as a result of the experience she had. All of them struggled to include some silence in their lives afterwards - even after having this immense experience.
For me this highlights 2 things:
- Silence is probably something I should try to do more - there are clear benefits that the series goes into including health, deeper understanding of ourselves etc
- I am not the only one who struggles with it. Many people lead busy lifestyles and so find it difficult to adapt to have times of reflection and quiet.
So I am in the process of trying to have a period of silence - where I'm not actively DOING anything - every day. So far it's not going well. But I want to get past the fear or anxiety that being silent and doing nothing is a pointless waste of time and actually meet with God.
So watch this space for part 2.......