Hi Friends! Welcome to Episode Six of the Reaching Hurting Women Podcast: A Contemplative Path of Recovery where we are learning new and healthy ways of coping with our daily struggles. My name is Tamara and I’ll be your host.
With the healing power of the Holy Spirit as our guide, we are integrating the traditional 12 Step Recovery principles with Benedictine Spirituality and other contemplative practices which we will be learning and discussing each week. It’s my hope to have a new podcast each Monday to discuss our theme of the week on ReachingHurtingWomen.com
This week our theme topic is: Silence
Silence and Solitude, walking hand in hand like best friends; are almost inseparable companions on the Christian contemplative path. As silence is vital to make solitude a reality, so solitude is necessary to make the discipline of silence complete. While it seems impossible to find meaningful silence without solitude, silence will be our focus today.
Words, words, words! They are everywhere! They surround the scope of our existence. From freeway billboards, radio and television commercials, merchant and street signage, cars wrapped with the latest energy drink advertisement to tempt your taste buds, even most casual clothing is promoting some message.
Then there’s the monkey that chatters incessantly in our mind reminding us of the grocery list needed on the way home; the ear worm sings the lyrics from the undesired tune overheard blaring from the car next to you at the last street intersection; maybe it’s the negative self-talk that’s been continuously in your head for a lifetime…This plethora of words dilutes their value to the point of overload!
Just as our physical bodies need rest and sleep to recharge, our mind and spirit need silence. Most people in our modern world don’t know how to be silent. In fact, many are uncomfortable, even afraid of silence.
But silence is frightening. It has a way of stripping us like nothing else, down to the reality of life that we are desperate to avoid. Silence leaves us face to face with God and ourselves.
When I was living in my addiction, really most of my life up until I began working on sobriety in 2004, I was unable to endure silence of any kind. I kept the radio or television going at all times. I even went to sleep with the TV on. I wasn’t really aware that I was doing it until I got sober and didn’t need the distractions anymore.
As I grew more secure in my relationship with God, working the 12 Steps, and getting to the root causes of my need to escape from reality, I was able to relax in the silence. The more time I spent in silence, the more I wanted. And now silence is my preference. Cultivating interior silence will douse the endless racing thoughts, the list making, future planning, past regretting monkey mind that chatters on.
What is your relationship with silence? Check your daily routine. How much do you depend on noise to keep you company? To drown out the voices in your mind; to keep you from dealing with the convictions of the Holy Spirit?
If you are interested in making a change, start small during your morning devotion. To spend five minutes in real interior silence it may take you another five minutes to reach the place of quiet, to clear your mind and become comfortable. So five minutes of real silence takes 10 minutes in all.
Then bring the silent sanctuary with you through your day. Try taking a walk and actually listen to the birds sing. Drive to work without the radio on in your car. I think in time you will be pleasantly surprised, maybe like me you will grow to find silence your preference.
When we are able to be in silence, we are more available to hear God’s still, quiet voice. When we are able to sit in the silence of contemplation, our own words will have more value.
Don’t let your fear of the unknown rule you. Silence is not your enemy, but a great friend. As we worked Step One we discovered our powerlessness and nothingness before God. Entering into the silence of His presence we are filled with the fullness of His being, and will find the needed strength to take on our day. A heart that is steeped in God can be freed from the clamoring of selfish desires and find the healing in holy silence.
I hope you will take an opportunity to learn more about the spiritual discipline of silence. You will find a variety of resources in today’s show notes and also in the daily postings this week on ReachingHurtingWomen.com.
Thanks for joining me today on The Reaching Hurting Women Podcast: A Contemplative Path of Recovery where we are learning new and healthy ways of coping with our daily struggles. As always I look forward to hearing from you. Until next time, may the grace and peace of God be yours.
The Way of the Heart: Connecting with God Through Prayer, Wisdom, and Silence by Henri J.M. Nouwen
Finding Sanctuary: Monastic Steps for Everyday Life by Abbot Christopher Jamison*
The Path of Life by Cyprian Smith OSB
The Rule of Benedict Edited by Timothy Fry, OSB
The Oblate Life Edited by Gervase Holdaway OSB