Seek and Make a Home within Silence

Seek and Make a Home within Silence

Return to our Way of Life

The quiet of a monastic life is hard within the city. We must seek silence, and make a home within it for ourselves. Discover and create prayerful spaces of silence to be present with God, and ourselves.

Christian monasticism began in the silence of the Egyptian desert. It was our desert mothers and fathers who left the noise of life for long periods of silent solitude. Amidst the sound of the winds and sands, they fell deeply into the presence and person of God. They heard what was only audible in silence. They experienced the interwoven depths of God within themselves and found themselves in His love, grace, and hope. Ever since, there has been space and emphasis on silence within the monastic tradition.

It is often in silence and calm that we see ourselves most clearly. In these moments, we slowly see divisions within ourselves, and between us and our world. The allure of noise is, in large part, to distract us from ourselves. Our world is so loud that we struggle to hear ourselves. We struggle to know ourselves. This same noise makes it hard to find ourselves in God’s presence.

So we must seek and find silence. We need to make space for our minds to wander, and to listen to the quiet whispers of the spirit within. It is not enough to discover a place of silence; we must live there through the discomfort. It will feel like moving into a new home in a new city. Only with time spent dwelling in silence can it begin to feel like home. We will feel it transform into a place of comfort, and familiarity. This place becomes one where we are most deeply known by ourselves.

Urban Monastics are not called to live in silence. We are invited to embed silence into our rhythms and our lives. To realize that we can make a home for ourselves within silence. So that one day, we will enter into silence and it will feel like walking through a doorway to a home we love. With time, the quiet of silence becomes as available to us as the noise of the city. We become able to step into the calm serenity of being fully present in silence. This is a serenity we come to know amidst our hard work. Our work is to lovingly meet the shame, anxiety, guilt, and much more that we discover within. It is a journey where we learn to accept and be present with the growing fullness of ourselves. We come to a growing acceptance of ourselves with the God who has already fully accepted each of us. We find ourselves in the presence of a God who knows all the thoughts and voices that will meet us in the silence. Here, within ourselves, God knows us and has found us worthy of His love. It is here on the other side of ourselves that we discover serenity in silence.

Much of our life of prayer invites us to silence. We need to slow down the noise of our lives and our minds to be present. It is there that we may sense the world fade away, leaving us in the presence of God. Silence is a skill for us to develop, practice, and use regularly. Silence is a gift that always waits for us to enjoy it. Silence is like a fine meal shared with the chef who created it. There is no replacement for all that silence can bring into our lives.

Accommodations: Some of our bodies and/or homes make silence difficult. Feel freedom to use things that dampen and quiet out the world around you. Silence can bring up traumas and histories that need support and therapy. Find ways to be kind and gentle with yourself as you listen to yourself, your body, and our God, who deeply loves you. Silence can also be experienced with music to help you get started.

Invitations to Engage

  • How do your city, home, and work inform the way you seek silence?
  • What do your rhythms of silence look like, and where may you be able to include silence?
  • After some time in silence, what do you hear within yourself and from your body? How might Jesus speak love, grace, and hope into what you heard?
  • Is there something keeping you from silence that you could bring to God in prayer?
  • Practice meeting the thoughts that come to you in silence, and then allowing them to move past you.
  • Explore and discover places beyond your home and work where you can enter into silence in your city.
  • How can you pair silence with other monastic practices?
  • Are there parts of your day where you can bring in silence?
  • What have been some surprises as you have explored silence?
  • What have been some unexpected challenges as you have explored silence?

Meditations on this Rule