A Short Meditation on Silence: Needing a Break from Chatter

A Short Meditation on Silence: Needing a Break from Chatter June 24, 2024

a short meditation on silence
{Photo by Mitesh Patil for Scopio; a short meditation on silence}

The hay now rises to shoulder-height and I walk a path around the field mowed by our John Deere. To my right and to my left, hay—stout and emerald green—sways listlessly, gracefully. If I sat down, no one would find me.

In this age, it feels as if everyone is talking; and increasingly, I am weary of the chatter. Increasingly, I don’t want to be found.

Social media renders each of us CEO of our private media organizations and we’re told that if we want to succeed and compete, we must get loud. We must not only be found, but our numbers must go up and our platform must get higher.

Because we can all broadcast on a whim, because we can commentate on the commentators, we are collectively drowned out by cacophony. Now, even the largest media networks reach a fraction of the audience they once did because the competition is so great.

What is there to say when everything has not only been said, but dissected six ways to Sunday? Even Jesus was mostly quiet, walking across his homeland to meet a new audience, only to steal away at a moment’s notice to seek solitude. Even the Buddha conferred his best teaching by modeling silence. How much more do the rest of us need to step away?

My best friend Brother Martin Gonzales, who died in 2021, would tell of the days when his Trappist monastery observed vows of silence. As a young extrovert, he found the vow oppressive and wearing. But after the practice was lifted (thanks to Vatican II), he was most oppressed by the chatter. He thought: would that I could go back to stillness! In later years, when his post-war hearing loss become acute and he wore hearing aids, he relished the ability to turn them off.

I think we all need an off switch. Or perhaps just the incentive to unplug from social discourse. To go silent for a while.

What might we hear in stillness?


Wren, winner of a 2022 Independent Publishers Award Bronze Medal

Winner of the 2022 Independent Publisher Awards Bronze Medal for Regional Fiction; Finalist for the 2022 National Indie Excellence Awards. (2021) Paperback publication of Wren a novel. “Insightful novel tackles questions of parenthood, marriage, and friendship with finesse and empathy … with striking descriptions of Oregon topography.” —Kirkus Reviews (2018) Audiobook publication of Wren.

About Tricia Gates Brown
Tricia Gates Brown is an everyday theologian working as a writer/editor in Oregon's Willamette Valley, mainly editing and co-writing books for the National Parks Service and Native tribes. After completing an MA in theology then a PhD from the University of St. Andrews in 2000, she continued to pursue her studies—energetically self-educating in theology, spirituality, and the emotional life. She is also an Ordained Deacon in the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon. Tricia is an art quilter, potter, and novelist. Her art can be viewed at https://bit.ly/TGBArts and on Instagram. You can read more about the author here.
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