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» Ship of Fools   » Ship's Locker   » Limbo   » 8D - Quiet Zone: Silence vs stillness

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Source: (consider it) Thread: 8D - Quiet Zone: Silence vs stillness
Schroedinger's cat

Ship's cool cat
# 64

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Having read all sort on here, I think that I have a problem with silence. In many ways, this is probably why I don't appreciate the silent retreat approach.

However stillness - which I would see as inner calm, or peacefulness, accompanied by a general lack of unnecessary noise. Silence is not necessary.

Of course, as I am now a Quaker, if I say I don't actually like silence, that seems odd. But Quaker "silence" is more akin - IME - to stillness, calm, space. Something I enjoy. Occasionally.

So anyone else find an important distinction between these two?

[ 19. March 2017, 14:42: Message edited by: RuthW ]

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jacobsen

seeker
# 14998

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Silence is an outer state, stillness an inner one.

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But God, holding a candle, looks for all who wander, all who search. - Shifra Alon
Beauty fades, dumb is forever-Judge Judy
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leo
Shipmate
# 1458

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Indeed - I spent an hour in a quaker meeting with a phone ringing and the muslim call to prqyer - as noisy silence - reported here

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My reviews at http://layreadersbookreviews.wordpress.com

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Ariel
Shipmate
# 58

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(From the MW report:)
"Knowing that it is possible to find a space to pray contemplatively in a busy, extrovert, heavily polluted city."

Blackfriars Priory in Oxford does that for me. I've mentioned it on the Ship before, but briefly to recap: it's a Dominican priory (and Oxford college) in central Oxford, built on the exact site of a pre-Reformation priory, several centuries later, as close to the exact day as possible.

It's quite simple and lacking in ornateness inside, and comes across as far older than it actually is. The lack of decoration and the simplicity of what there is, combined with the huge, plain glass windows that let in natural light, can combine to make this a powerful, challenging and inspirational atmosphere just to sit in.

Outside there are all the sounds of a busy city - traffic, sirens, conversations, footsteps, motorbikes, beggars - yet the place often feels like an oasis. It's not entirely silent. It can't ever be, in the heart of a city. But it is an oasis of stillness and it holds a depth of calm I haven't often met with in other churches - "dynamic" calm, if that makes sense.

[ 28. October 2016, 17:40: Message edited by: Ariel ]

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Schroedinger's cat

Ship's cool cat
# 64

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I suppose that is it - I don't like silence, because it usually feels oppressive (and unnatural), whereas stillness is, I guess, something I have been nurturing for a long time, in the face of external chaos (and internal chaos too). So it doesn't feel as odd.

I think being able to maintain stillness in chaos is what Quaker silence is really about. Probably what all silence should be about - finding the stillness within whatever the outside.

So often, it seems to me, the silence is imposed, not grown. In churches, for example, children are told to "be quiet, hush", and so can learn that churches are imposing places that oppress them. Rather than being allowed to celebrate in them, and find, maybe, the calm in the wonder.

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Qoheleth.

Semi-Sagacious One
# 9265

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When trying to gently introduce people into forms of contemplative prayer, I find that 'stillness' is often less off-putting than 'silence'.

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Fineline
Shipmate
# 12143

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SC, have you read Sara Maitland's book 'The Book of Silence'? She talks about these distinctions, but I think she also uses the term silence to describe what you call stillness. But she really explores the idea of silence in detail, saying it is not necessarily an absence of noise.
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Schroedinger's cat

Ship's cool cat
# 64

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On order...

Thank you.

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Blog
Music for your enjoyment
Lord may all my hard times be healing times
take out this broken heart and renew my mind.

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Ariel
Shipmate
# 58

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It's a fascinating book. I definitely recommend it. It's also one of the most loquacious books I've ever read.
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kingsfold

Shipmate
# 1726

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Another recommendation for Sara Maitland from me. An interesting character...

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I came to Jesus and I found in him my star, my sun.
And in that light of life I'll walk 'til travelling days are done


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leo
Shipmate
# 1458

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Me too - and I knew her when she was very noisy!

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My Jewish-positive lectionary blog is at http://recognisingjewishrootsinthelectionary.wordpress.com/
My reviews at http://layreadersbookreviews.wordpress.com

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