The prayer of silence is not about quieting external sounds. Instead it is about quieting the inner noise in our minds. There are all kinds of voices rattling around inside us, battling for our attention. This practice is aimed at increasing our ability to silence the inner noise in order to hear the voice of God.
Practice Solitude + Silence: Start by closing your eyes. Sit up straight or lie down, whichever is more comfortable for you. Pay attention to your breathing. Feel the air enter just beneath your nose, and the slight cooling sensation as the air comes in and goes back out. Don’t change your breathing, simply be aware of it. Notice any tension in your body, your belly, your chest, your shoulders, or your face. Notice the way your mind fixates on the past and projects into the future. Notice the way your mind verbalizes this moment. Just observe it. Watch it without judgment. What are the noises bouncing around inside your head? Each time a particular thought seizes your attention, simply return to focusing on your breath out as a symbol of putting distance between you and your thoughts. The trick is to neither resist nor retain the thoughts and feelings in your body and mind. Just watch them and gain distance from them, the way a plane gains distance from the ground on takeoff. Start small; try five minutes a day. Eventually increase the amount of time you spend in silence. As you begin to feel the distance between yourself and the thoughts that usually fight for your attention, how are you aware of God’s presence? What, if anything, is God saying to you?*
*[Copyrighted material: Shane Hipps, 2009. Used with permission.]
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