“Silence is God’s first language; everything else is a poor translation.” – Father Thomas Keating.
Throughout my life, I have spent a lot of time in nature. As a young boy, I would play in the woods and creek behind our neighborhood. When I was a teenager, I worked on my grandfather’s farms. In college…well, I don’t remember much from those days.
Now, I still spend time outside and away from the noise of the city. I wander through the forest on our properties. I sit in my hunting blinds and try to take in what is around me.
However, the noise always follows me. While there is always a baseline of man-made sound, even deep in the woods, I am not referring to this. It is the noise that is inside my head. The scattered chatter and thoughts that constantly go on within me. I have heard this referred to as “squirrelly brained” or “monkey mind.” I call it the Noise, which constantly distracts me from being in the moment.
For me, to be in the moment is to feel the presence of God and appreciate everything, both the good and the bad. God is always with us. God speaks to us through the Silence telling us what is the next right action for us to take.
The Noise keeps us from hearing the Silence. Anyone who has tried meditation or just sitting and trying to empty your mind of thoughts knows how difficult it is to quiet the Noise. It takes practice.
Fortunately, we have the guidance from spiritual leaders of the past and present. Buddhist meditation and Christian contemplative practices help us to tame the monkey mind and quiet the Noise. By becoming more aware of ourselves and our surroundings, we can hear God speak to us through the Silence.
While I still struggle with the Noise, I feel much better today than in the past. I find myself doing those next little right things, without even thinking about it. When I do slip up, I am aware of it and take the necessary steps to transform. It is progress, not perfection.
Silence is Serenity.