Monday, January 12, 2015

Silence Appreciation 101

Last week we "sat in on" an interview with Leonard Cohen.  His appreciation for the richness of silence was instructive.  But it is not easy to get to that point of appreciation.  The few who join me in Night Prayer on Sunday nights are still learning how to finish the 20 minutes we take to sit in silence.  We have worked our way up to it.  Even Remy handles it pretty well.

I can't say what happens during the silence.  I just know that the mix of well measured speech a la the NZ BCP, candle light and the ambience of our historic church make for a very rich silence.

Now that we are up to twenty minutes of silence each Sunday night it makes for some difficulty for the first time participant, unless they have already practiced this sort of prayer in other settings.  The outline below is a good start to your own practice.  Take a deep breath, relax into your exhalation begin your own practice of silence.

How to Practice Silence Every Day *
  1. Schedule your period of silence at a particular time every day.
  2. During that hour, turn off the phone, TV, radio, computer, and all other appliances and communication devices. Put down all books and other reading material.
  3. Light a candle to be a witness to your silence.
  4. Sit quietly and rest—or look carefully at a natural object—or engage in work that does not require you to hear, see, or express words. Gentle housekeeping or gardening are excellent activities of silence, or a long walk in nature.
  5. Listen to the silence, all the time enjoying this respite from thinking, reviewing, planning, and imagining. Stay in the present moment.
  6. Breathe deeply and mindfully, bringing in the silence and expelling mental “noise.”
  7. At the end of your silence, let your first word be an expression of gratitude or love; then put out the candle and go about your business.

* See more at:

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