Not an easy task for me – keeping silence. Once I spent a day at the monastery at Collegeville in silent retreat. My husband was so intrigued by the thought of my silent effort that he had a special t-shirt printed for me that read: I was quiet for a whole day!
I spent two additional days of silence at two separate weekend retreats when I was in spiritual direction training. After a whole day of silence, it’s interesting to note that talking is not necessarily a relief – it becomes a bit of work.
I attempted silence this morning for my prayer time. Since we are up at 4:20 and Rick is out the door by 5:00, I lit a candle and placed it on the veranda. I wrapped myself up in the blanket and sat in the dark and tiny flame with the dawn’s light growing ever brighter for an hour.
Because of the trees surrounding the veranda I was able to hear, but not see, the increasing traffic, the sound of life rushing back to the business of life after sleep. I did see ravens on their first morning flights – and the gentle stirrings of the tree branches with the morning breeze off the sound.
How paradoxical! It was only one silent hour – and a cup of coffee. It was prayer time with no utterings. It was attending only to what presented itself for attention. It was energy-creating by doing nothing. And for all its apparent emptiness, the silence was . . . peace-filled.