The joys of not having to talk to anyone. That was my first thought when I was first introduced to the Greater Silence.
The Monastic purpose for The Greater Silence is very simple. Taken from Isiah (1 Kings 12.19) Where Isiah found the voice of God in the quiet, not in the great earth quake or the raging fire. One of the purpose’s of being in the silence is so free up the mind to be able to hear the voice of God.
Although St Benedict’s thoughts on it where slightly different, according to The Rule it was more of a case of “Careless talk cost’s lives” rather than being open to hearing the Spirit of God.
For me, the Greater Silence was, perhaps the easiest of the Monastic disciplines to master. Never being a morning person, not having to talk to anyone before 9.00am was a blessing.
The Greater Silence isn’t just about not talking though. It was a time when the Monetary fell silent, the last of the daily officers was said, we’d said Good Night to God during Compline, asked for his blessing to keep us safe during the night and the silence fell. No TV, No Radio, just the creaking of the pipes and the hum of the fridge. In those hours, after compline and before bed time it was the most relaxing part of the day. Time to study for those of us who had to, write letters, read, get in a little bit of extra prayer time. It was like Christmas Eve, when the house is already and there is that little bit of time before the rush of the next day’s activities.
There is something magical in being silent, of sitting in the stillness, it does give you time alone with your own thoughts and feelings, working through the day’s problems, or just being in the moment.
Now outside of the monastery I find that’s, perhaps, the thing I miss most. In this crazy world of 24hr noise, just taking a bit of time out is one of the biggest joys. True to my Monastic heritage I very rarely have the Radio or TV on after 9 in the evening, and I do read or write in those few hours before bed time. Being in a share house it’s never really quiet even with my door closed. But I like to give this time over to Meditation and being with my Guides and the Spirit’s that are around me.
I’ve guess this has been upper most in my mind recently because I’ve been doing extra hours at work and time to myself is a very rare thing. Perhaps it’s my Monastic training telling me I need to spend time with my thoughts and with God. Rather then just trying to get in a few extra hours of sleep.
I wish I had the words to get across to you how magical this can be. It’s more than meditation for me, it’s more like being able to just be in my own thoughts, truly in my own space.
I get that for some of you, it could be a very strange thing. Just to sit in the quiet. But give it ago, you’ll be surprised at what can come your way when you give Spirit just a 5 minute breathing space in your day.
Oh and that doesn’t include Ipods or “having your ears in” it’s still extra noise. Just be quiet in your room. I can feel the energy building up in mine as I sit here and think about it.
Love and light