Sunday, December 28, 2008

Practicing the Silence

Even though I live in this small town my life is rather noisy. Kids work,, the phone, the list can go on and on. Many people cannot abide silence, for whatever reason. They cannot drive their cars without the radio or some other device operating at all times. Similarly, there are those who have the TV on all the time, even if they are not sitting down actively watching it.

Being silent means more than just holding your tongue. It means listening for the softest, most subtle sound of all - the sound of the soul. And every time someone listens to that voice of conscience, every time someone chooses to do what is right, regardless of the consequences, every time someone listens to that inner voice and does something generous or compassionate, that for me is beautiful evidence of God.

Sometimes, I will sit still, close my eyes, and empty my mind of busy thought, and be conscious of the silence. But it's not really silence, as in the total absence of sound, but rather, it's the small daily-life sounds no one notices in the usual cacophony of their typical days. It's the hum of a refrigerator, the whirring of a fan, the whoosh of cars passing in the street, the chirping of birds and crickets (I really like the crickets!), the howl of a train's horn, the roar of a lawn mower, and so on. I've found that practicing the silence will many times inspire me to write, and will even sometimes bring on a feeling of contentment that I can't quite explain.

When someone speaks in a whisper, you cannot hear him unless you are very close to him and everything else is very quiet. You cannot hear God's Whisper unless your heart is quiet and you draw near to God. You may experience storms in life; your child might get sick ... disaster happens ... But you must listen to God's still small Voice. Thoughts?

Learn To Be Quiet

Franz Kafka

You need not do anything.
Remain sitting at your table and listen.
You need not even listen, just wait.
You need not even wait,
just learn to be quiet, still and solitary.
And the world will freely offer itself to you unmasked.
It has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.

Franz Kafka, 1883-1924, was a popular Czech novelist and short story author.

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