It is no secret that North American culture is a noisy culture. It is difficult for many people to turn off their TV or radio. It isn’t that people are watching or listening to it, but rather, the noise makes us feel comfortable, or like we aren’t alone. Add to that the explosion of music and musical genres, the ability with mp3 players to listen to your music anywhere and everywhere, we end up with very little time for silence. All this noise has caused us to loose our center.
There are segments who are calling for more silence, but for many modern Christians the call goes unheeded. The Buddhists, among others, have found benefit from silence. Those who spend time in meditation tell of its calming effects. There is even more power and peace for the Christian who discovers silent centering on Christ.
Silence has been an important discipline throughout Church history. In the modern church it seems largely lost. Instead we focus on pragmatic activity, busyness, and activism. We struggle with silence because we feel like we “aren’t really doing anything.” In our modern culture we feel that the only thing that matters is what we ‘do.’ If we do take time for silence, we may even feel guilty.
Yet, in the silence we discover our center. In the silence we can discover peace (true peace). In the silence we discover our center, Who is Christ. In the silence we discover our purpose so our actions aren’t merely activism. Through silence we are able to allow our actions flow from our center, rather than living in the realm of reactionism. Through silence we are able to see how much of our living is shallow and trendy.
Of course silence comes easier for some than for others. God has made each of us differently with comforts and preferences. However, silence is beneficial for all. As we discover the gift of silence, for it is a gift, we discover a peace we never knew before and a Center who is Christ. Perhaps, the first spiritual discipline we should incorporate into our lives is silence. Silence will flavor everything else.