Monday, October 29, 2012
Silence and the soul
One of the headlines in this morning's newspaper was "Wired world thwarts true solitude." That was followed by an article about how plugged in we are in America (well, duh!), and how we share a compulsion to check in on social media, via computer or smart phone, constantly in order to let our friends and family know what we do 24/7, as if the world will stop turning if we don't. (The irony is not lost on me that I will deliberately share this blog post on social media.)
The article went on to lament the fact that Sabbath is now an antiquated concept to most of us, and we are surrounded by constant noise in the digital world. Happily, some mavericks are doing something to change all that; such as turning OFF their computers after work (gasp!), or leaving the cell phone at home while on vacation.
It seems strange to me that silence is a foreign concept to people, but think about it: when was the last time you spent more than 1 minute in silence?
Parker Palmer, in his lovely book, A Hidden Wholeness, writes: "The soul loves silence because [the soul] is shy, and silence helps it feel safe."
We spend our days at work amidst the noisy demands of computers and cell phones (beep beep...answer me NOW - I might be urgent...while you're here, check your Twitter feed!), then we drive home listening to music or talk radio, walk in the house and turn on the TV, we even wear ear-buds while working out or walking in the woods.... So I repeat the question: when was the last time you spent more than 1 minute in silence?
Our souls are shy. We cannot expect our souls to come out to play if the world around us is a cacophony of incessant, demanding, noisy obligations! The only way to reconnect with our inner self is through silence.
That is what we aim to do with The Oasis - to offer a place where people can go to find silence. What they do in the silence is up to them. Some may seek the silence to renew, to rest, or to just be still. Some may find inspiration in the silence. Some may find God in the silence. And for a special few, their souls will come out to play.
1. Parker J. Palmer. A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life (Kindle Location 1555). Kindle Edition.