Two weeks ago I had the fortune of spending three days at Mount Saviour Monastery. Along with the monastery, these Benedictine monks, who devote most of their lives to silence, run a fully working farm where they raise sheep as well as tend their bee hives for making honey. I never got to see their bees, although I could hear them, but I did spend a lot of time around the sheep. Actually, they are inescapable. If you can't see them, you can certainly hear them. Here is a sample of the scenery, from one of my favorite sitting spots:
It's a very serene view isn't it? It was very quiet. All I could hear were the sheep calling to each other, the wind dancing in the grass, or the occasional bug flying too close to my ear.
I like quiet. Always have.
Day one was pure bliss. The morning of day two was amazing. However, by that evening, the quiet was getting louder. No, there weren't any new noises. Rather, the quiet was growing heavy and was no longer in the background but it was now in my face, all the time. It was inescapable. What a surprise! In his book, To Know as We Are Known, Parker Palmer writes of silence, "We need to abandon the notion that 'nothing is happening' when it is silent, to see how much new clarity a silence often brings." That seems like a nice sentiment, until that "new clarity" doesn't feel so nice.
How do you experience silence?
Is it good for you?
What do you experience in silence?
I still love it, but I have to admit, I'll never experience it the same way again.