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Assistant Minister's Column

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 Starting Monday January 6th, I will be honoring a week of silence. Sunday night before I go to bed, I will turn off my phone, say goodnight, and not speak, watch TV, listen to the radio, or consume media for the next week. The following Sunday, I will preach on the experience.

 Honoring silence is a spiritual practice that has been meaningful to me. It helps ground me. It reminds me my place in the world and helps me realize the amount of space I take up. In our world of hyper-connection, it is a chance to remember that the world moves on without me.

 This is not to say I’m not scared. I am. Every time I do this I worry. The simplest worry is that I will be mind-numbingly bored. But being alone with my thoughts for a week borders on terrifying. I worry I might discover or remember something I have been spending years trying to forget/ignore. I worry that my subconscious will discover something or reveal something about me that I wanted to forget. If Unitarian Universalism has taught me anything, it is that which is deep within us is holy, and being in touch with that is good.  That reminder is enough to quell my fears.

 Quite a few people have asked me questions about this practice, so here are my answers:

 Why don’t you go to a silent retreat center? - It is important to cultivate spiritual practices that are accessible. I hope that others will be able to try this practice. Not everyone can afford to go away to a retreat center. Also, spiritual practices in day-to-day living are more challenging and more substantive for me.

 How will we get in touch with you? - I will have my phone turned off. I will not use a computer for the entire week, so no email. If there are any pastoral needs, you should call our senior minister, Steve Crump. If you need to communicate with me, you can drop a note off in my box at the church. You are welcome to talk to me during this week, but please know that I will not be able to respond.

 Will you still be able to watch TV and read? - The short answer is no. For me, part of honoring silence is not consuming media or anything that distracts me from the practice. It is very easy for me to use noise, music and information to block out my own thoughts. I will allow myself to read, but nothing that is communicating information – newspapers, magazines, etc.

 What do you hope to get out of this? - I hope to find grounding. I hope to find more love for this world. I hope to be humbled and I hope to know myself better.