Tuesday, December 21, 2010

More on silence

I once spent a summer's day walking on my own in some quiet woods and towards the end of it, I tried to spend some time in absolute silence - stilling even my thoughts.

Photo by kovik of sxc.hu
After slowly calming my busy head for a while, I think I may have managed total silence for about ten seconds - though of course I wasn't counting.

It was surprisingly powerful. I remember, afterwards, feeling more alive than I had for ages, as though my senses were all highly tuned - and that after just a few seconds. Some friends laugh at me or say I'm 'going Buddhist', but it was quite something, and I'll never forget it.

I know that Christian or biblical meditation is about fixing your mind on good things (rather than emptying it) but I think there's a place for a 'noise purge' every now and then.


pierscjc said...

Let's keep plugging this.
Inner silence - yes it is a catch I find that if you stop thinking then you forget what it is for, by definition; but if you are aware of what it is for, then you can't stop thinking - a paradox. So a gentle focus on something seems best.

Anonymous said...

I've been experimenting with different forms of meditation for some time, and I beleive that there is great power in the inner silence approach. The great Christian mystics are advocates of the apophatic approach, and perhaps some of us just need to get over the fact that often those of other faiths are better at this than we are.
Sometimes we just need to be willing to give up ourselves to enter into prayer, and in this world of overstimulation complete silence is hard enough to come by that it only adds to the argument for this kind of approach.
For the record I'm more in favour of the Centring Prayer approach rather than the Christian Mantra style as developed by Fr John Main, but I think there is much to be gained in the study of both.

normal said...

Thanks, Simon. I've always found apophatic spirituality strangely fascinating (and fascinatingly strange); it doesn't come at all easy to me, but I do feel there are vital depths to be found in stillness and silence.