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Finding silence in the secular setting

Silence in the secular

Sounds of silence: “The beauty of silence should not be confined to church. I encourage silence in business.”

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.

By Clare Burns
Clare BurnsClare Burns is a Brisbane Catholic businesswoman. She has a Masters in Business Administration and is completing a doctorate at a Brisbane university.  

Written by: Guest Contributor
Catholic Church Insurance

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