SATURDAY-morning breakfast writing club was the closest encounter I have had to a “religious experience” at university.
What made this so special was not what people said, rather, what they did not say – four hours spent with people respecting each others’ silence.
The purpose of the silence was for each individual to contribute, albeit in a small, possibly miniscule way, toward their thesis be it in business, health, environment or engineering.
As doctoral students are told, none of us will be awarded a Nobel Prize and the best doctorate is a finished one.
The time spent writing and rewriting is thankless but made easier knowing others are in a similar situation.
I probably need to disclose, or you probably realised, I am an introvert.
I love silence and I enjoy sharing silence with others.
Our faith tradition has always advocated the beauty of silence; it is a gift, made even more special after Communion.
A number of years ago I developed a preference for silent retreats. This was not because I do not like people – quite the opposite. I found I loved and prayed for people more in silence.
The beauty of silence should not be confined to church. I encourage silence in business.
When facilitating a cultural audit people share historical work events and experiences.
Once a lot of the history of the organisation has been spoken, I invite people to be silent. This is time for people to reflect.
Two things often strike me – firstly, for some, silence with others is so foreign they cannot keep silent; secondly, for those who can be comfortably silent together, there is deep sense of collegiality. Respect is due to both responses to silence.
Any organisation willing to engage in a cultural stocktake of their corporate personhood is to be commended, even if there may be a moment of uncomfortable fidgeting. It is concerning when organisations have no desire to take stock of their culture or their impact on society.
Back to my Saturday-morning silent writing club: I am grateful for this little slice of utopia in a secular setting.
Hoping your day may be celebrated with pockets of silence and the majesty it offers.