I once heard that a monk instructed his disciples to sit in silence in their cell, and it would teach them everything. I don’t have a cell, but my office at work is close enough, so I gave silence a shot: the results were staggering.
Breathing is critical, so I made sure to focus on it as it puts you in a meditative state. Five minutes became 10, ten became more. I had intended that to be the limit of my time in complete silence but it stretched to 40 before I knew what happened. But it’s about quality with prayer, not quantity.
Something within began to percolate. My thoughts rose up but I slapped them down and focused on achieving a silence inside to reflect that without. I don’t know what was rising up inside me. I only knew it was true, and it needed to get out.
I wanted to avoid the truth. Desire to run, to plug in to an iPod or YouTube video, to escape into something, anything exalted itself within me. My soul began to frantically search for a way to drown out the deafening din of my corruption. “Adam.. Where are you?” “Lord, I was afraid, and so I hid.”
Have you ever fasted from food for at least 3 days or more and noticed all this “stuff” coming to the surface within you? I think that is essentially what I was experiencing.
I began to silently scream. I cried noiselessly without tears. Had I been truly alone in a forest I would have sent the birds fleeing the treetops en masse with the roar I made. The range of emotions were incredibly deep. I had not been searching for them, nor did I have a clue how deeply they were felt. They were just there, gushing up from me like a geyser.
It was alarmingly cathartic. It was just what my soul needed.
So then I saw heaven, or at least how I imagine heaven to be. God spoke to me..”I am with you.” He tells me this often… I don’t truly comprehend how powerful and important ‘God with us’ truly is. “Rod and staff” flashed through my thoughts and my soul was quieted. I worshipped God, I smiled. I didn’t want to cry anymore. I sighed, exhaling soul’s poison and inhaling the breath of God. Peace – more elusive than I had realized – was within me. “He rebuked the wind and spoke to the waves, ‘Peace, be still’.”
That is what silence did for me. It was more incredible than I could have imagined. I am going to seek out silence again soon. What about you? What has been your experience with silence? Do you think we need more of it in our plug in and play society?