Choosing Silence

My favorite times of silence are bike rides, running, hiking, kayaking, and mornings sitting outside. These times are not absent of sound, but they are peaceful and quiet.

When someone develops a discipline of silence, they learn to appreciate peace and quiet along with the benefits of regularl times of silence. These times involve reducing or eliminating unnatural sounds so natural sounds (e.g., breathing, birds, footsteps, wind, etc.) fill your awareness.

A discipline of silence means intentionally choosing not to bring noise into the equation. It means deciding to not talk, play music, or watch television. It means not introducing unnecessary sounds and instead existing in a quiet and peaceful place.

Realizing that the goal in a discipline of silence is really peace and quiet, not literal silence, helps understand how to achieve a true discipline of silence.

A discipline of silence allows you to think and process life. It’s creating a regular practice of simply existing with the natural sounds of life and involves thoughts being allowed to move freely with little outside influence.

Amplifying Silence

My own discipline of silence has developed into more of an active quiet rather than a true discipline of silence. My life exists at a slower pace and quieter volume than that of most people. Outside of TV time, which is relatively minimal, my house is generally quiet.

I spend much of my time in my office or kitchen or on my deck writing, researching, or studying, and I do so in relative quiet. I realized, though, that I am always doing something during quiet times. I live in quiet activity more than disciplined silence. Instead of just sitting and allowing my thoughts and my body to just be still, I am always doing something productive. In that, my own discipline of silence requires growth.

Instead of continually taking in and then regurgitating information, I need to spend time processing. I need to consider how the information I encounter fits into my life. More importantly, I need to weigh it against the Truth of God’s Word.

Amplifying silence means taking time to let life go and exist in stillness, so that God rather than the cares of life can fill and direct you.

“Be still and know (recognize, understand) that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10, AMP).

The depth of this verse’s meaning truly gets at the goal of a discipline of silence, especially when you read it in multiple versions and combine the words from each. For me, this activity led to a desire to:

  • Deliberately choose to think and process life on a regular basis in as peaceful and as quiet of an atmosphere as possible.
  • Just exist in stillness and let all else simply go on without me for a while.

As I intentionally live out the first half, I believe the second half of Psalm 46:10 will become more real in my life. God will become bigger in my life, and he will be glorified in my activity as well as in my silence.