Moving Into Silence

self-solitude-II-900x1800-1024x512As part of the training program in Spiritual Direction we are required in each five day residency to hold the central 24 hours in silence.  It is a time when we can slow down from the world we left at home, assimilate the learning from the past two days, rest, meet with our Creator without interruption of rushing and begin the work of preparing to take the steps that will be required when we leave the atmosphere of learning and move into the place of practice.

When I say silent retreat to people they often choke on the thought and understandably.  We have so little silence in our lives.  I don’t think that I ever really notice how much noise there is in the world until I am forced to practice silence.

Try it.  Not for a long time just for a moment right now.  Stop reading and typing and talking.  Turn off the TV and just listen to noise around you.  For myself in that moment I heard an airplane overhead.  There were some doors opening and closing and some feet moving on carpet.  There is a hum in the computer and even though the window is shut, I can hear the wind through the big oak outside.

Silence can be a frightening thing for the lonely.  It can be a dark place for those who are grieving.  It can stir memories of fear and even horror.

My first silent retreat was about five years ago and for the first few hours I thought I might go mad.  I didn’t know what to do with myself.  The silence seemed so much bigger than any noise.  The experience helped move me into a new phase in my life.

Now I move toward silence more easily.  It has become a bit of a friend.  Perhaps it has always been my friend.  As an only child I knew much silence and the best moments of my childhood were spent with the wind and spray pushing against my face while I stood alone on the lake bank or wading to my ankles in the still water along the shore, feeling the ripples of sand under my feet on the summer sandbars.

Silence is a time  when it easier to hear the voice of the Spirit.  That still small voice that called the prophets, that gave wisdom of ages to the mystics and still bestows ancient truth on a modern world which seldom bends to hear it.

So for the next 24 hours I will dwell in silence and listen for the voice of my Creator, my Redeemer, my Friend.

There are usually two silent retreat weekends offered at Five Oaks each year and there is also accommodation for your own silent retreat at the Centre.  To find our more visit their website.  If you know of other places where silent retreat is available please begin a list.  


About Peggy Guiler

You just never know what show up on my blog. As the name implies it is about the stuff of life just like Spilt Milk. Everyday events spark thought and contemplation. Special events in the community, the country or the world may strike a cord and get me talking. Sometimes it's about people in my life or circumstances, sometimes about my garden, sometimes about a book or a political issue. Always it's about something I am passionate about. In my business, River of Hope Enterprises (, I work as an "Certified Coach" (International Coach Federation), a trainer, consultant and speaker. and as a spiritual director. I also drive a school bus to keep the wolf from the door while I build my business. I love the kids on the bus (most of the time). My family is grown and I have three grandkids who thrill my heart but I don't get to see any of them very often. Circumstances of life have made "family" difficult. My son died by suicide at age 16 in 2000 and the strain on our family relationships since has been huge. Mental health is a field where I worked for almost 22 years and where I still do some consulting and training. That combined with my own battle with depression and my son's death weave together to form some of my greatest soap box items: suicide intervention, suicide bereavement and peer support in mental health are right on the top of my list. Social justice is an underlying passion. Keeping the wolf from the door as a single parent was full-time work and my career path as a journalists was augmented with cleaning contracts, cooking, retail clerk, and bartending. I have known hard work and am grateful for the experience and perspective it has given me. A firmly grounded faith and a passion for learning has now taken me toward a new field as a Spiritual Director and I am soon adding to that a license to marry people. As I move toward retirement I am very aware that I have to keep working so I chose to do things which will meet my modest financial needs and also my love of supporting people in their life journey. Woven into all of this is my love of writing. Trained as a Journalist, and having worked in the field as a freelance news writer for many years, I have a great love for writing. This blog is a new beginning for me. As I hone my skills and begin to form a daily discipline of writing I hope it will lead to more writing in the future.
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