The Big Silence

"A new three-part series for BBC Two, The Big Silence, follows five people who have taken time out of their daily lives in an attempt to understand just why silence is so elusive and hard to attain in modern-day society."

Last week I caught up on this amazing series on BBC Two that challenged our perceptions of the role of silence. These five people, some with faith and others with none, were taken on an 8 day silent retreat in a remote Welsh retreat house run by Jesuits. The results were fascinating. Each person seemed to be utterly transformed by the experience and they were each totally convinced that silence should be an important part of their daily routine, although achieving this was sometimes a challenge! Two of the participants , including one who had started out being antagonistic, reported hearing the physical voice of God, and two decided to make drastic changes to their professional lives. An amazing and life changing encounter.

The programme challenged me to examine my own prayer life. If I am not 'experiencing' something in prayer ie. lots of talking, worship, heightened awareness of Him, then I feel that my time is wasted. But I have come again to realise the importance of just being still. The truth is that God knows all the prayers that are in my heart, and being absolutely silent for a disciplined time is vital to allow my soul to breathe. The physical and mental benefits are also considerable. After doing this this for a few days I noticed that I was calmer, more trusting, more reflective, and less anxious, stressed and worrying.

But this is hard. Last week I was in a large supermarket on Remembrance Day at 11am and it was announced that there would be a 2 minute silence. It struck me how many people were unable to stop. As I stood there, a lady pushed past me to get her tomatoes and others were still pushing their clickety-click trolleys. For our society this is totally alien and strange. Silence is a discipline to be sure but I for one am encouraged to push a bit harder into it and to find those big rewards from big silence.

Comments

Barbara said…
I did enjoy this programme too and had a desire for more silence in my life. I would like to experience a time like that with that kind of support.I am sure lots could rise to the surface.

It's also a time to 'listen'.
photowannabe said…
We are admonished to Be Still and Know that He is God.
How difficult it is to just be still. I find my mind wanders and distractions just take over far too often. So what does that say about my prayer life?
My feet are made of clay., and I'm full of good intentions.
Lord, help me to Be Still and really Know Who You are....
Wanda said…
Sounds like an interesting program. For most of us, just being still would seem counter-productive. But it's not really surprising that these people saw great benefits in it. Especially when God's word tells us to be still and know. Since He's the manufacturer of us humans, all is commands are for benefit.
Pietro said…
Silence, so beneficial for our soul, is a rarity nowadays.
lioneagle said…
Hi Mike -

Excellent advice, no doubt. There are certainly benefits. I liked that you said that you are calmer, more reflective, and less anxious...

It is in our best interest to steadfastly commune with our Lord...and to enjoy other periods of mental relaxation.
Steve said…
Sorry I didn't see this series now. Somehow just passed me by. I have always been a huge believer in meditative prayer and enjoy nothing better than being still before God. As a tense naturally anxious person I derive great benefit from it.