How often do you spend time in silence, talking to yourself, or just thinking?
Once a day?
A few times a week?
A few times a day?
A proverbial saying ‘Silence is golden’ is often used in circumstances where it is thought that saying nothing is preferable to speaking, the origin of this phrase is obscured by the mists of time. The first example of it in English is from the poet Thomas Carlyle.
There is also the golden value of spending time in silence.
With all of the information we have available to us now, through technology, we can easily be engaged, or distracted, every hour of the day and night. This is why it is even more important today to practice solitude, even if just for 10 minutes.
Solitude is the time in which you have no other input. Not even reading a book, or listening to music, when you truly experience the value of silence (which is golden).
There is a report that says the average teen in the US spends nine hours on media per day, and another that says mental health disorders are on the rise among children. Both state how our brains are not set up for this much activity. Adults are not far behind, even though not exposed to it through our childhood
Silence can be scary, I know. Especially when you haven’t done it in a while, or you may have thoughts of it causing your skeletons in the closet to come to the surface of things. This is where prayer comes in.
You don’t have to cut the noise cold turkey. Detox is different than declutter. There is a practice coming to be known as Digital Minimalism, where you end up choosing to have a focused life in a noisy world.
You might want to pray about how to approach this, and ask God to give you wisdom and strength, or ask others to pray for you. We all need each other to make it through this world, and we’re not meant to go it alone.
I’ve been noticing around the internet this theme recently of the cutting back on technology and replacing it with more human interaction; finding a new hobby or cause to be engaged with …. offline. For us adults, who have kids with screens, the benefits could be more time with family, or that our family might resist tech addiction.
A couple things I am working on, for example, are spending reduced times online by making notes throughout the day for when next online, and, as a photographer I’ve started a new photo series called Sunday Silence: Views From My Backyard. Because I, for one, need to go back to looking at the things we see everyday but fail to notice, and no better place to do this than your own backyard.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church reads that we are to practice all things in moderation, and that, I think, should include making time for prayer and a good dose of silence.
–Frank J Casella