“Silence is the very presence of God—always there. But activity hides it. We need to leave activity long enough to discover the Presence—then we can return to activity with it.” —M. Basil Pennington, O Holy Mountain
Some friends of mine told about their daily routine (which has become their life). I think this is classic America. Here’s a glimpse:
They would wake up around 6:00 a.m. and go downstairs. After cooking up a few slices of bacon and two eggs, they’d look over crossword puzzles from the morning paper, only speaking if one of them got stuck on a word or to clarify the events of the day. Then they’d dash upstairs to separate showers, get ready, and leave the house for work like sprinters staggered at the starting line.
Both listened to the radio on their way to work, in their respective cars. Work was filled with emails, meetings, and other obligations. Between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m., both would arrive home. Immediately, local news would be on the television. She would throw together a dinner that tasted far better than the effort involved and he would pour a cocktail. After dinner, the ritual was to sit in their well-grooved chairs until the conclusion of whatever prime time television show was on that night. She would knit while she watched—ever productive—while he would inevitably fall asleep in his chair by 9:30 p.m. When she was done watching—or when his snoring got too loud—she’d wake him up and they’d both go upstairs to separate bedrooms, turn on separate televisions, and continue to watch/listen until they fell asleep.
Noise has become normal.
These friends of mine are not unusual. Their routine is quite common.
We’re living in the most fast-paced, technological, connected…and yet distracted era in the history of humanity. Our cell phones are multimedia leashes—enslaving us to obligations and entertaining us to death, literally. When we never slow down, never disconnect, and never get silent, we are allowing our spirits to slowly die inside of us.
I think that silence for the spirit is like water to the soil. I know that silence seems brutal for some people. But if that’s the case for you, ask yourself why. If you say, “I’m a people-person,” that’s likely a cop-out. We all need people. So that’s not the issue.
I believe that when we avoid silence, we’re hiding from something—or ignoring Someone.
Human beings have been given a spirit inside us. This spirit is meant to be a link to our Creator. It whispers of God. It whispers of greater meaning and significance than we currently experience. And that whisper can make us feel vulnerable, small, imperfect, incomplete, or in need. And perhaps we are.
When we are silent and still, we are inevitably reminded that we are not ultimately in control. There is Someone bigger who keeps this world turning. There is Someone with real power who is sustaining our lives and all living things around us. There is Someone that we need. Someone to give us the lives we were meant to live.
Distraction and busyness can fool us into believing that we are self-sufficient…that we can achieve and provide for ourselves. Then we find ways to distract and entertain ourselves to numb our feelings of failure, doubt, or insignificance.
Be still and know that I am God. —Psalm 46:10
Our spirits are our compass leading us home, and silence clears the way.
What distractions are hurting your spiritual health?
Identify one distraction in your daily routine that you can eliminate, or at least minimize. Then, practice using that time and space to be aware of the spirit inside you.