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The gift of silence

"Silence is not an absence of sound but rather a shifting of attention toward sounds that speak to the soul." -Thomas Moore
"Silence is not an absence of sound but rather a shifting of attention toward sounds that speak to the soul." -Thomas MooreVictoria L. Ashby

In today’s fast-paced world we find ourselves inundated with constant noise. All around us I-pads, laptops, i-phones, video games, aps and androids; movies and TV bombard us with sound. It is as though silence has become a thing of the past.

Francis Bacon Sr. said…..Soon silence will have passed into legend. Man has turned his back on silence. Day after day he invents machines and devices that increase noise and distract humanity from the essence of life, contemplation, meditation...

Is silence passing into legend? So many, particularly the young, seek to be constantly entertained by noisy devices and appear to avoid silence at all cost. Those who set aside time for and enjoy solitude are becoming rare individuals, indeed.

Yet something quite alluring, quite magical takes place during times of silence. It is in silence that one comes to terms with oneself; focusing on inner thoughts, motives, dreams, disappointments, successes and pleasures. There is something very pure and spiritual about silence. It is during times of silence that we truly come face to face with ourselves and with God.

Dawn breaks in awesome silence. In the Bible Jesus often went alone to pray during the early morning hours. There is a very different silence experienced while sitting or walking along an empty beach where the only sound it that of the rolling waves. Or alone on a mountaintop where the air is pure, the view is expansive and only the rustling of leaves in the wind keeps you company.

I remember one day driving through the mountains of Colorado. Seeing a sign that read “scenic overlook,” I pulled over and let the windows down. Enjoying the splendid view, in solitude, I contemplated all of the wondrous beauty God has created. A gentle breeze blew through the Aspen trees setting the leaves all a quiver. Suddenly I saw a large, beautifully colored butterfly fluttering outside the front window of my car. I watched closely as it made its way around to the window on the passenger side and entered the car. It came to rest on the car seat next to me. In awe, I sat very still, enjoying the beauty of the array of color on its delicate wings. The butterfly rested there on the car seat with its wings going slowly up and down. I hardly breathed, not wanting to disturb the butterfly or the sheer enjoyment of the moment. It rested there for several minutes, warmed by the sunshine on its wings. Then as suddenly as it had entered, it flew back out the window and on to another destination.

God often uses His unique creations to reveal Himself to us during times of silence. We can be suddenly surprised as He gives us a revelation of who He is and demonstrates His love for mankind. We see in in the beauty of rainbows, the bird’s song, an evening sunset, a light spring rain or holding a newborn baby.

“We need to find God, and He cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass – grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence. We need silence to be able to touch souls.” Mother Teresa

When was the last time you gave yourself the gift of silence? What special quiet moments can you recall? Beautiful moments of silence can be found all around us, even in the midst of all the chaos.

“There is no need to go to India or anywhere else to find peace. You will find that deep place of silence right in your room, your garden or even your bathtub.” Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Look around! Life is fleeting. Don’t let time pass by without noticing all of the wonderful opportunities before you to experience the beauty of silence. Turn off the electronics, the phone, the TV, and the music for a period of time. Meditate, reflect, ponder; become intimate with yourself and with your Creator.

“True silence is the rest of the mind; it is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment.” William Penn

It is in silence that truth is revealed. It is in the absence of all the noise that peace, clarity and order is found for your soul. Spiritually speaking, silence is an inner stillness. A mind freed from the onslaught of daily thoughts. It is in silence that one seeks God. It is in silence the He is found.