I’ve been absent from the blog for a few weeks now, not because of anything other than that I feel drawn to silence. I’ve had no inspiration to write, but simply to sit. Of course, I’ve not been literally ‘sitting’ all the time but that is merely the nearest analogy I can find to reflect the state of my mind. It’s not really been in active, thinking mode, but in a more receptive, anticipatory mode of being. For though advent is a time of darkness, the darkness is filled with the promise of the light to come.
How important silence is for a true seeker, firstly to clarify thoughts, but also to be comfortable with. And such a welcome contrast to the noise pollution on the world of advertising and television, which assails us in this period, where being carried along on a merry go round of frantic activity is the order of the day. Of course, in every life, there are the practicalities of eating and partaking in the traditions of Christmas, quite rightly, but when there’s too much clatter, how can we make room for the voice of the Holy Spirit? Advent then, the 4 weeks before Christmas is a perfect, Graced time to enjoy the silence as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of Christ, not only into the world but more importantly into our hearts.
In the ordinary course of events in my life, I can sometimes fear silence as emptiness, but not during Advent. The silence of Advent is a positive, palpable silence – Silent Night, Holy Night.- It’s the kind of silence where I am finding awareness and even unification. It makes me more aware of who I am and who I am becoming. It’s a heart- opening silence and one that I’m drawn to this year, as opposed to one that I flee. The social self has left its masks behind and in this real silence I can open to the experience of meeting my true self and finding contentment there. This is not a private silence, but it also belongs to you and to all people. I hope you find it too. There have been times in the past when I felt the silence awkward and I couldn’t wait to get it over with. That was merely a reflection of my own inner awkwardness for as Thomas Merton says,
“If we are afraid of being alone, afraid of silence, it is, perhaps because of our secret despair of inner reconciliation. If we have no hope of being at peace with out selves and our own personal loneliness in silence, we will never be able to face ourselves at all. We will keep running and never stop. In silence we don’t just confront ourselves, we become ourselves.” Can you be with yourself in creative silence without excessive thinking or planning or appraising or judging or commentating this Advent?