Insights

October 2017

One day last spring I decided to have 24 hours of silence, with the aim of stopping the incessant mental chatter of the mind and focusing more on God through prayer, meditation and nature. So I placed little notes with the word “silence” in every room of the house and confined myself to the house and back garden for the day so that I would not bump into any neighbours. I decided not to listen to the radio or any music, not to watch any television, not to read the newspapers, not to log onto the Internet, not to check my mail, not to even pick up my mobile phone to check for messages and not to answer the phone when it rang. Household chores were also banished from the day, with the exception of a little cooking in the kitchen at lunchtime.

What a peaceful day it was! I spent the morning planting vegetables in the garden whilst intermittently just sitting and soaking up the natural beauty all around me and reading some of the prayers in the Workbook of A Course in Miracles. The only thing I listened to was the birds, chirping merrily in the warm spring sunshine. I had most of my meals out in the garden instead of my usual place, which is in front of the television.

What was interesting was that one of the Lessons I was studying that day was so relevant. It was Lesson 303, in which I read: “…Let earthly sounds be quiet, and the sights to which I am accustomed disappear. Let Christ be welcomed where He is at home…” I then glanced at the following lesson, “Let not my world obscure the sight of Christ,” and I realised the extent to which all our daily activities really do seem to obscure the sight of Christ because they keep us immersed in busyness and distract us from the peace and quiet that exists at the very centre of our being.

After a short meditation in the afternoon, I spent the rest of the day reading and just sitting quietly. When one lives alone one can sometimes think aloud and talk to one’s pets. But I managed to just send love to my cats without uttering a word to them. I don’t think it bothered them because they never say very much to me.

At the end of the day I noticed that my mind had become quieter and more peaceful and it had been a very relaxing day. So much so that I was rather reluctant to switch the world back on the following morning when I got up. I still felt no inclination to speak but had to make a few phone calls and there I was back in the world again: checking my mail, watching television, answering the door, etc. But I noticed that even two days later, I was still reluctant to speak a lot and carried on doing as many things as I could in complete silence, without even any background music. And even several days later I noticed that I was switching on the television less than before, preferring instead to just listen to the sound of silence.

A day or two of silence is definitely something worth considering, especially if one lives alone or with someone who would agree to be completely silent for a day.

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