Monday, February 02, 2009

Seeking Solace and Peace

From The Elements of Benedictine Life:
Silence. Before we can listen, before we can truly hear the Word of God addressed to our hearts, the spirit and practice of silence is essential. Silence for the monk is not a rejection of the neighbor but rather a recollected attentiveness to what lies at the heart of reality once all the ephemeral clutter of daily life is cleared away. Only one who has learned how to be silent, who has learned how to go beyond the noise from inside and outside himself, will be able to hear the cry of others, as well as the call of God.
There was a time back in 2000 or 2001 that I was seriously thinking about visiting The Abbey of Gethsemani. According to what I read of it in the paper, you could schedule a week or a weekend there and live among the Trappist monk, living as they do. My interest in the retreat had as much to do with religion as with making time to embrace and appreciate purposeful silence, escaping life's habit of "sound and fury, signifying nothing," if you will.

I never really followed up on that, but I still think of it from time to time. I take my peace in the relative quiet of my nights after clocking out at work. Sometimes it's the true silence that I receive and sometimes it's the pretend kind, the kind I make for myself by listening to Van Morrison's Hymns To The Silence on my iPod. Even though it's not the real thing, that record can certainly walk you peacefully toward it.

I'm still the same old me, always struggling to make enough money for my family, never quite figuring out how. I love the people in my noisy little life and want the absolute best for them as they do so much to make me smile. But sometimes everyone talks at the same time and the TV's on and the dog is whining to go out and I'm full of economic despair as it is and I just need some stillness and some peace.

 Thanks for reading. I wish you peace.


eric dolphy said...

hey brother mike. you might like the movie Into Great Silence. have you heard of it?

a film maker waited years to be allowed into this monastery in the french alps(?) to make this movie but was finally allowed entrance a few years ago.

there is hardly any talking and it's about 3 hours long. if any film is said to be a meditation on something it's this one. these days when my movie going habits are nil i start to get antsy in the theatre after about 30 minutes or so. when i saw this one tho i didnt get the jimmy legs until about the end.

brother matt

caki said...

Mike, I have always wanted to visit that monastery....weird. In 2000 I went with my Yoga class to Smith Springs Lake for a silent retreat. We could not speak for 3 days. Everyone teased me at the shop and said no way could I do it of all people....let me tell you--I loved it and never wanted to speak again. All day my world if filled with constant chit chat. I read recently where they had a total for how many words the average person says in one day....can you even imaging how many I say? And worse, hear?? Overwhelming. Anyway, I made a promise to myself that I would do a retreat like that every year since and guess what? I haven't been since. Sad.