Monday Meditations: Make Room for Silence

One of the greatest sounds of them all—and to me it is a sound—is utter, complete silence.
— Andre Kostelanetz
One of the greatest sounds of them all—and to me it is a sound—is utter, complete silence.

Our homeschool life is full of wonderful sounds. There’s the sound of our daily readalouds. The sounds of music practice — that have gotten a little louder since my son got his first electric guitar. The sounds of non-stop conversation. The background noise of podcasts and video games and YouTube videos. I love all of these sounds, but there is a part of me that sometimes just craves silence.

Silence feels like a rare commodity in my life right now, and I miss it. In the world of words and noise, we’re pulled from ourselves — pulled to our to-do list or some idea of what we should be doing or someone else’s idea of what we should be thinking. And while those things can all be valuable, they all exist outside of us. In silence, we move beyond words and into a different kind of awareness, into a space of being rather than a space of doing. At first, your mind may race, filling the silence with thoughts and projects and plans. But slowly, our minds unknot, our thoughts loosen. We relax into the silence.

I have spent many years making space for the noises of our homeschool life, and I love them all. But this year, I want to make space for silence, too — and not just for myself. I want my children to learn silence, to learn how to sit comfortably with themselves in silence, to wander free and easy in the space that silence creates. Our morning routine has changed so many times over the years, but the noise has been a constant. Bringing in a little silence now feels right. As we sit together watching the morning candle’s flame twisting and shivering in the cold air, our silence feels like a kind of communion.

It’s not easy to find silence — and there are times where stopping the noise means stopping something good and productive that I don’t want to put a stop to. But I am looking for ways to bring more quiet moments into our routine. I also find that when I am seeking silence, I find it in odd places — on the drive home from Japanese lessons or in the kitchen waiting for the water to boil — and I am learning to embrace those kernels of silence when they appear, for as long as they appear. I am not sure I would have recognized the value of those little moments if I were not actively seeking silence in my day.

Food for Thought

  • When was the last time you were in a truly silent place? How did you feel?

  • What are the noises of your everyday life?

  • How can you make room for silence?