How to Practice the Discipline of Silence
“Silence is the simple stillness under the word of God…Silence asks for patience and waiting…that makes us uncomfortable.” Boneoffer
Exercises in Silence
Setting a period of time in which you don’t speak and are isolated from noises (save the possible noises of natures). Start small and set a timer. Start with 10 minutes. The timer keeps you from constantly checking your watch.
As you become quiet what do you hear? voices, traffic, your breath, wind, your heart, distracting thoughts? let the noise go. Continue to let the quiet deepen. Be with God.
After ten minutes, reflect on what it was like for you to simply become still enough to hear the background.
Try this several times a day. What happens to you? The benefits of being silent are often seen in the fruit it bears rather than in the experience of silence.
Go into Silence amidst the ordinary. For example, while driving or commuting, or doing the dishes, cleaning the house. Do this without music, radio, etc. turned on. Offer the task to God. Be in the present, doing what you are doing with a listening heart. What is it like for you? What distracts you?
Go into Silence with Psalm 37:4 — “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” What does this verse say to you? What desires has God put in your heart? What does God say to you about your desires? Stay and wait. Ask for the freedom to delight in God and for the ability to to know and live out your God-given desires.
In the early morning or evening. Go into silence by leaving the TV off, the phone off, and sitting in your living room, without a book (except the Bible), and simply breathe. After five minutes of silence, work through the daily Examen.
Take a personal retreat of silence and solitude. Get away for a night or two by yourself in a beautiful place. Maybe use some of the other exercises as a guide for your time.
Benefits of Silence:
- Being attentive to the voice of God
- Having freedom from negative habits of speech (deception, gossip, impulsive chatter, small talk, impression management, the need to express your opinion, story, or critique).
- Freedom from addiction to noise, sound, and input
- Receiving quiet from the chaos and the noise of your life.
having deeper intimacy with God
- Growing in self-awareness as the silence invites the subconscious to move into deeper levels of knowing yourself and presenting your true self to God.
- Developing increased listening skills