On two friends’ recommendation I watched episodes 1 and 2 of ‘The Big Silence’ on the iPlayer last night. This is a great series where five people are given the opportunity to see how total immersion in silence for a week and then the application of periods of silence in their daily lives could change them and their outlook on life.
The candidates spend time in a Benedictine Monastery for a weekend before then embarking on 8 days of total silence at a Jesuit centre in North Wales.
I’ve learnt a bit about the value of silence to spiritual growth over the years and I am acutely aware of my need for it. I’ve always got noise around me. I regularly listen to music whilst reading or watch tv and go online at the same time.
It all reminds me of a trip to Alnmouth Friary some years back. The brothers there have the ‘greater silence’ from 9pm to 9am. One of the members of our group said to one of the Friars ‘what’s the point of that?’ and Brother Edward (who sadly passed away this year) said, in his inimitable way “My dear, you have to let God speak to you at SOME point in the day!”
The programme inspired me to decide that when we go to Scotland next week on holiday that we will have one day when we don’t speak and go off on our own to spend time with God. My husband didn’t take any persuading as this is the primary way he connects with God anyway!
I also didn’t listen to music on the way in to work today, it was refreshing.
This episode posted here is well worth a watch (you can skip the first episode as it’s more of an introduction).
Another good resource on silence and faith is the ‘Noise’ Nooma DVD from Rob Bell – great for a small group introduction.