Faith, Politics, and Transitions in Brussels

Silence in the City?

Grace makes little noise.

When was the last time that you were silent? When was the last time you heard that thin, sheer sound of silence? If you live in a city, it might have been a while. If you live in the country, it might have been a while. We fill our lives with noise, with music, with radios and smartphones and commentaries. When was the last time we stopped? When was the last time we were silent and experienced silence?

Silence makes us uncomfortable, because it forces us into presence with ourselves. We want to slip away from our thoughts, from our loneliness, from our memories. In silence, we face inner transcendencies that bring us into question. (For introverts, this requires a stilling of the inner monologue that continuously is running in our heads.)

Silence opens us up to the Divine. It is in silence that God speaks. This was Elijah’s experience on the mountain top. And throughout Christian history, a strong spirituality has been linked with lives often punctuated by times of silence.

How can we practice silence? Take time. We have to ease into silence. Turn off all screens. Find a quiet place — at home or a park or a secluded place in your office. Focus on your breathing. Relax. And listen. Hear what the silence speaks. You might find yourself surprised. And do this regularly; the more we experience the positive sides of silence. The more we hear. The more we become still.