How the sounds of silence can clear a little space in your life–and your soul–to keep company with God
Posted in Jun 7, 2017
I had coffee recently with a pastor friend. One thing led to another, and I was soon talking about the immeasurable difference silence has made in my life. I told him how, on my first prayer retreat at a silent monastery years ago, I discovered that silence led me into prayer in a way I had never before experienced.
Since then I have found new ways to seek silence, even in the midst of my busy schedule, and thus foster more prayer and, with it, more peace in my life.
How? Here are six suggestions:
1. Turn off the car radio.
We’ve never had more options for news and music in our cars, from broadcast radio to CDs or MP3s and podcasts and Spotify, iHeart Music, Pandora and more. But when was the last time you rode in silence? A morning or evening commute can be a great time to seek a spot of silence and give your ears—and your soul—some needed rest.
2. Turn off the noise in the gym.
I often exercise to the beat of a playlist on my phone using Bluetooth headphones. But occasionally I will turn off the music but leave the headphones on, closing my eyes and spending some time in silence.
On a recent trip, I learned that the screen in the fitness room could be set to a scenic channel that let me enjoy beautiful, peaceful scenery while I exercised. So try it, at least once in a while. Turn off the noise and turn on the silence.
3. Sit on the porch.
In generations past (especially before air-conditioning became ubiquitous in our homes), people could be seen sitting on the porch, sometimes in a rocking chair or porch swing, passing the time. Nowadays, of course, those folks are probably inside staring at the television or computer screen. But occasionally reviving the practice of sitting on the porch or backyard, especially if it’s quiet, can bring some much-needed silence and welcome space for prayer and thought.
4. Take a hike–literally.
While the woods or the beach are not silent by any means, the sounds of a hike in such a setting are life-giving and energy-restoring in opposite ways to the sounds of traffic or talk radio. And time spent in Creation possesses a supernatural power to revive and refresh the human heart and spirit. So take a hike–no music, no ear buds, just the birds and trees and you and God.
5. Go to the spa.
Seriously, a 30- or 60-minute massage at a nearby spa can be a great (if not cheap) way to insert some silence into your life–not to mention a little pampering, too! But try this: ask the masseuse or masseur to let the time pass in silence, without chatting or playing music.
6. Go to church.
When was the last time you arrived in your seat at church five or ten minutes early? Depending on the church, getting there a little early can supply some seconds or minutes of silent prayer and meditation. Or how about finding a church near your home or workplace that offers a prayer chapel for silent meditation during the week. Just five minutes in such a setting can work wonders for a weary, wounded soul.
Sure, you may not try all or even most of these suggestions. But try one or two, at least. See if the sounds of silence can clear a little space in your life–in your soul–for you to keep company with God.