November 19, 2015
As your meditation becomes deeper it will defend you from the perpetual assaults of the outer world. You will hear the busy hum of that world as a distant exterior melody, and know yourself to be in some sort withdrawn from it. You have set a ring of silence between you and it; and behold! within that silence you are free.
—Evelyn Underhill, Practical Mysticism
We all need a ring of silence.
I found mine at a Jesuit retreat house, of all places. The first time I went, I was not sure what to do facing the silence and long hours. I brought many things with me to do to fill the time.
Over the course of days I was there, however, all the accoutrement I brought began to seem like so much extra baggage, unnecessary and burdensome.
My inner mind and heart began to speak to me in the silence. The first night it was as though my mind emptied itself of all the chatter filling it. My dreams were full of meetings, conversations, discussions. The next nights were absolutely calm.
I began to hear my deep inner voice, the one that cannot be heard above the din of everyday. I discovered myself then. As I wrote down my thoughts, as I explored the sometimes strange and scary ideas and feelings that were dwelling there below the surface, a new and more authentic vision for my life began to take shape.
(The Jesuits were not intrusive. I took a private retreat and was able to guide it myself. Many such retreat houses offer guided retreats as well, but for me, I needed the space to dwell there on my own.)
Even now, years later, the deep silence and self discovery found on that first retreat guides and shapes my life and being.
Resolve to find a place of retreat, where you can bravely face your silence, and your life will change immeasurably.
Take a GoodMinute
Where is your Ring of Silence?