like love silence, but especially certain forms of it. I love it at night, with maybe a few normal background sounds. I love it outside, with just enough bird sounds and leaves rustling to let me know the natural world is intact. I even like being silent and spending much of the day without talking, or having the TV or radio on. But I couldn’t really put words to why I love silence until this morning when someone did it for me.
My present reading project, which I would highly recommend to anyone, has been reading through Dallas Willard’s “Divine Conspiracy”. I think some who read my blog probably are not having an active interest in pursuing Christianity themselves but maybe would like to be more educated on what’s out there. And who doesn’t like the thought of a conspiracy to be investigated?
This morning’s reading was about silence and solitude. If a person were truly interested in being a follower of Jesus, silence and solitude would have to be a part of life, because it was a part of his. That’s what following means – to do what he did. But why did he do it, and what can it do for me? The first thing I think of is having to shut myself up, “get thee to a nunnery” style and take some pledge of wordlessness – not going to happen. But here was an interesting thought on the quantity of silence.
By solitude we mean being out of human contact, being alone, and being so for lengthy periods of time. To get out of human contact is not something that can be done in a short while, for that contact lingers long after it is, in one sense, over.
It lingers. I think I know how he means that. And this,
Silence is a natural part of solitude and is its essential completion. Silence means to escape from sounds, noises, other than the gentle ones of nature. But it also means not talking, and the effects of not talking on our soul are different from those of simple quietness. Both dimensions of silence are crucial for the breaking of old habits and the formation of Christ’s character in us.
Ok, I’m to be silent because it helps me break bad habits. How does that work?
“to break the power of our ready responses to do the opposite of what Jesus teaches: for example, scorn, anger, verbal manipulation, payback, silent collusion in the wrongdoing of others around us, and so forth.
Oh yeah, those ready responses. I get it.
There is more but I will give two more of my many highlighted passages about silence.
The cure for too-much-to-do is solitude and silence, for there you find you are safely more than what you do. And the cure of loneliness is solitude and silence, for there you discover in how many ways you are never alone.
And yes to this one! Hopefully someday it will be this simple….
One of the greatest of spiritual attainments is the capacity to do nothing. Thus the Christian philosopher Pascal insightfully remarks, “I have discovered that all the unhappiness of men arises from one single fact, that they are unable to stay quietly in their own room.”