Sitting in silence

One of the reliable features of a Contemplative Druidry session is Stroud is that we sit in silence together. There are no instructions about what anyone does during that silence, no aims to achieve, and normally it raises nothing to discuss.   I find this a very powerful experience.

Normal human contact tends to revolve around activity or speech. In most contexts, silence is a sign that something has gone wrong socially, and people will try to fix it or become very uncomfortable. Equally, stillness and inactivity are not part of regular human encounters. There is a sense of acceptance in still and quiet sitting. There is a peace in shared space where nothing has to be done, or achieved. There is no hierarchy, no authority and no dogma. Whatever happens to a person, and whatever they choose to do with themselves in that time tends to remain private.

When I started on this two years ago, I came with the pressure/expectation that something important should happen while sitting. Something to share. It took me a while to learn how to be absolutely fine with there being no great insights and no revelations. This has had implications across my whole experience and practice of Druidry. I’m much more accepting of the quiet and ordinary, and not looking for the validation of something dramatic. This in turn has opened me to the small beauties of small things.

Outside of meditation spaces, I increasingly value the scope to be quiet. I like it when I don’t have to be entertaining or interactive. People I can be around who do not always require words. I like walking quietly, talking when something arises, and just being with people when there is nothing to say. While speech is a powerful form of communication, it can also be used to hide things. We use noise to cover fear, uncertainty, awkwardness. Silence can be revealing in its own ways, and it’s good to have some space for it.

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About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

5 responses to “Sitting in silence

  • contemplativeinquiry

    I feel a lot of resonance with this post, based on my own experience of the group in question. Thanks for writing it!

  • karenenneagram

    ‘Speaking when there is something to be said’ …. sometimes the enjoyment of the weave of ideas and experiences to be shared is intoxicating. As an introvert who yet craves one-to-one connection I can be seduced, even though I prefer being with those who can be silent. This reflection of yours has given me an idea vis a vis a new friend who is already deeply woven into my life; our families are woven too. He says when he loves someone he talks, and is silent when he’s dangerous. His family just tell him to shut up for a moment, please, which of course has no effect. Next time we meet, I shall invite him to be silent with me/us as an experiment in connection. Whyever didn’t I think of that before?

    And it strikes me that we can do the same anywhere (though maybe not phrased that particular way). Though I’m not regularly with the Stroud-based group, I feel connected, and I’m not new to the experience you describe. It might be good, now, to start inviting silence where before I simply longed for it, in silence!

    Thanks, Nimue

  • Christopher Blackwell

    I can enjoy my few customers at my shop mainly because I get to have hours and hours of silence. Increase the number of customers by a bit and the then the strain would begin.

  • Leeby Geeby

    Very well said. Thanks for the inspiration. I am going to work with silence today in my job. Silence also has the bonus of not wasting chi energy. Silence is an important part of the philosophy of Chinese sages for this reason.

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