For several years I’ve had a friend trying to convince me to go on a silent retreat and so far I’ve managed to always find a reason to decline.
I’m just not good at that silence thing.
I seldom exist in it. When I’m home alone I have the television on in the morning, music the rest of the day. When I’m walking I’m saying my daily prayers or listening to NPR or classical music and if I don’t have that going in my ears, then frankly, I’m “taking” to myself….that voice in my head that keeps a running dialog with myself about what needs to be done at home, what’s going on with my family and friends….you know, that voice that’s always trying to solve the world’s problems.
Even in church….one would think I could appreciate the silence, but at mass I’m singing and listening to the readers and priest speak in addition to all that talking to God that’s going on in my head.
Honestly, most of the time there exists a cacophony in my head.
However, last August I visited an amazing place in South Dakota that’s all about silence. This sign greets you at the entrance to Pathways Spiritual Sanctuary:
This is a holy place,
A sacred place.
Where the visions dwell,
Where the dreaming of a race began.
Someone’s god has stepped here,
spoken here of life,
of holy things.
When you come,
Be mindful of the dreams.
This is a sacred place.
If ever there was a place where I would welcome and perhaps find true silence, this would be a good place to start.
It might be a while before I’m ready for that retreat though…..