Silence is powerful. It can deeply touch and heal the heart. Think of how you are affected by the silence of fresh snowfall at dawn, a full moon filling the quiet night, or the warm silent gaze of someone who deeply loves you?
The good news is that we can find God in silence. John of the Cross, 16th Century Mystic said that “God's first language is Silence." Thomas Keating wisely added that "everything else is a translation.” Our challenge is to program silence into our daily schedules to help us find and listen to God in ourselves and others.
1. Practice silent prayer. Learn about Centering Prayer and consider trying it out on a daily basis.
2. Find a time and place to be silent in nature. Even if it only once a week, you will benefit in ways that may surprise you.
3. Reflect on silence and its relationship to listening. When we are talking, there is no silence, and we are not listening to ourselves, others or God. Are you a good listener? Most of us are not.
4. How can we become better listeners? I mentioned Centering Prayer or other quiet or meditative practices. These practices will retrain your brain to be more receptive. The same retraining happens in the silence of nature when you maintain awareness of each moment. Walk in the early morning and practice moment to moment awareness of the crisp gravel underfoot, the cool air in your nostrils, the awakening birds, the distant cars. For many of us, study can help. I offer a few of my favorite books and online resources dealing with mindfulness and listening practices.
God bless. You are in my prayers.