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Chaplain’s Corner

”Silence is not absence, it is presence. It has substantiality, you can lean into it”
Cynthia Bourgeault

Imagine the focus and concentration that is required to maintain a pose like the one in this image. It speaks to me of inner silence, peace and calm on the one hand and yet also makes me giggle to myself in embarrassment thinking of how impossible I would find it. How I would wobble and probably fall flat on my face as I overbalanced.

One of the things about being a chaplain though is learning to listen in silence, to listen without speaking unless it’s to reflect back and to check our understanding, so that the person we are listening to really knows that they are being heard; knows that the space that is created within that communication is owned and led by them.

As humans living in todays society, how often do we feel uncomfortable with silence and attempt to fill it with something ‘meaningful’? It’s so easy for all of us to get caught up in that approach. How do you feel about silence? Does it comfort and sustain you or does it fill you with horror and emptiness?

I’ve always been fascinated by the words of the Simon and Garfunkel song, Sound of Silence, and I especially love the Disturbed version of this song that I found on YouTube:

There are so many ways to interpret these words as the darkness is welcomed as an old friend at the beginning of the song, perhaps somewhere to meditate, reflect and grow? Perhaps acknowledging that our dreams often release our subconscious thoughts as he sings about a seed that was planted in his dreams that still remains on waking.

It really tugs at my heart strings when he goes on to sing about the emptiness and loss experienced as he searches for a moral compass in the neon glare of materialism and false Gods, people talking without speaking (meaning), people hearing without listening and life going on in a rush around us without any depth of connection or real purpose. He goes from seeing the silence as something positive to something that is more malignant as it becomes filled with busyness and lack of actual communication rather than with reflection and connection with each other.

Does silence have a ‘sound’ or a meaning for you?

I’m happy to chat if you see me in the Engine Rooms at lunchtime, please do say hello. If you’d prefer to talk in a more confidential, safe space though you can email to request a call-back, or you are very welcome to call or text me directly on my mobile: 07526 378529 either to chat or to arrange a time to meet.

We also have a range of resources on our web-site including some that are more specific to the Covid-19 outbreak and some that help in dealing with stress:

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