Over the weekend, I pulled into the parking lot at the local state park and readied myself to run the 11 mile loop. Sunscreen was applied, shoes laced up, and wristband put on. I went to grab the Ipod and realized, “Egad*, I left the headphones at home!” The thought of running that distance without music was daunting. Like many of us, I am surrounded by constant noise and have gotten accustomed to the ceaseless buzz of the radio, TV, and even appliances. Some scientists argue that the unwanted exposure to continuous noise adds to our stress levels, yet on this humid day with temperatures in around 90°, noise is exactly what I wanted.
Silence is an important part in many of the world’s religions. It is incorporated into liturgies and rituals as well as in personal practices such as meditation and prayer. Silence facilitates a deeper contemplation of our experiences and thoughts and helps us dive deeper into the spiritual realm. This is not a fruitless exercise but assists in cognitive reasoning and better decision-making as well as an increase of empathy with others. In addition, some believe that we are unhappy when the link is severed between our feelings, thoughts, and actions. Deeper contemplation counters this tendency. Most of all, in the quietness we are in a proper state to “sense” our higher power. Every second of every minute of every hour of every day God is trying to communicate with us. Nothing bad can come from this connectedness. Silence, while deafening, is golden for our spiritual life.
*This word definitely needs to be brought back into common usage.