The Sound of Silence
My morning routine is a bit like this: My alarm goes off and I lie in bed a moment longer to pray for the day ahead. After getting up, I’ll give my inbox a quick scan, and then read or listen to something devotional and inspiring, sometimes distracted by my mail or to-do list. Then I’ll get dressed, eat breakfast, and then I’m off to work.
My day is full of sounds and action; I’m listening, thinking, speaking, typing all day long, and when the day is over, I relax by reading or talking with a friend or watching something humorous. I even listen to audiobooks as I fall asleep. Life is constant mental processing. I’m receiving input and information and reacting and thinking all the time. I don’t experience silence unless I carve out space for it, which I try to do daily.
For me, meditation is taking time to still my mind, to be silent, to breathe deeply, to be grateful and reflective. It’s not a time when I try to accomplish or achieve anything mentally. Meditation is something I’m naturally drawn to, and if I go for a few days without some form of meditation, I begin to feel it.
I grew up in a large family of 10 with lots of bustle, excitement, and noise. So from an early age I sought out solitude and quiet. During my teen years, I would climb onto a small ledge adjoining our balcony that overlooked our garden and giant jackfruit tree. There I would read and write, or sometimes just sit and think.
Lately, however, I’ve chosen to multitask my meditation with my exercise routine. While running or
walking, usually in a beautiful, peaceful place, I slip into meditation mode.
The world is full of information, music, media, and distractions. There’s so much that can take you away from thinking—like watching something lighthearted after an especially grueling day. And while activities that take your mind off the day or your troubles can be relaxing, the purity and beauty of meditation is that it not only relaxes you, but it can also energize you to face the challenges of life.
I once read that meditation is a bit like pouring liquid into a strainer. Sometimes you have to wait for a liquid to pass through the strainer slowly before you can add more. As we meditate and reflect on God’s Word, it’s as if those words and that information is being poured into our hearts and minds slowly, and its reach is thorough and deep. This allows His Word to get beneath the surface of our mind and seep into our heart, and there water the seeds of change and growth.
Much like with eating, our body needs time to digest and assimilate the nutrients from the food in order for us to benefit from it. Meditation on God’s Word is like spiritually digesting what we read so that we can benefit from it fully.
The Bible talks a lot about meditation, especially in the book of Psalms, as King David was obviously an avid meditator: “I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night.” “I will meditate on all your
1 works and consider all your mighty deeds.” “I will meditate on your pre2 cepts, and contemplate your ways.” 3 Here’s something I read recently:
Moses also knew a thing or two about getting alone with God. He had several million people sitting out in the middle of the desert, waiting on him and tearing their hair out, wondering, “What are we going to eat? What are we going to drink? Where are we going? What are we going to do?” And what did Moses do? He climbed to the top of a mountain and stayed there alone with the Lord for 40 days!
4 Jesus also had to take time away from the crowds, and even away from His disciples and friends to commune with God and receive the strength He needed to go forward and accomplish His purpose: “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” 56