Friday, 12 January 2018

Silence

Put down your iPad or close your laptop.
Close your eyes and put your hands into your lap.
And listen.
What do you hear?
Even in the cottage, where the walls are 18 inches thick there is noise...distracting noise.
Bulldog snores, the click of the kitchen clock, the rumble of the farm tractor in the lane, the crow of the bachelors, the crackle of the wood burner .

I clean the Church when it's my rota week.
I don't go to Church other than that.
I don't believe in God.

Having said this , I love the little Church of St Michaels.
It's a peaceful place on a sunny but very cold Friday afternoon.
I sat for long time before hoovering and polishing as I always do.
Thinking of nothing in the stillness

And I could hear nothing...nothing at all


Hello darkness , my old friend,
I've come to talk with you again.
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain...
Still remains...
Within the sound of silence

74 comments:

  1. Sometimes the silence here is extraordinary. One hears absolutely nothing; it's as if we are alone in the world.

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    1. If all else fails don't eat till you are really hungry. Your stomach's grumbling will soon fill the void.

      U

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  2. When I get home, I listen to nothing but silence for at least 20 minutes. It is dear silent as my windows are thick. I then turn classical on .

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  3. Spare a thought for the deaf.

    U

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    1. Why on earth should he? The blog is about restorative silence

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    2. Sorry I spoke. I so nearly didn't [as not to break the silence].

      Who is "he"? I was talking to you.

      U

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  4. The sound of silence John. Wonderful. Recuperative.
    Somehow one feels it in church - even if like you and me we don't believe in God.

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  5. It's hard to find a true silence isn't it? There is always some noise. How wonderful that you found a place to give your ears and soul some peace...how strange that you found it in the house of a God you don't believe in.

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  6. I never have complete silence. I have chronic tinnitus.

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    1. Me too - endless buzzing.

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    2. And me....perpetual white noise

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    3. Me too. I have to check whether any random buzzing or whistling noise is real or in my head.

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    4. Bloody hell its a convention of tinnitus sufferers

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    5. Rosie--One time I was talking with my daughter and her husband and they both got this amused look on their faces. After a few seconds she said, "I think your eggs are done." When I asked what she was talking about she laughed and said my sport watch's alarm had been beeping continuously. I didn't hear it over the ringing and chirping in my ears. One of the grand kids had been playing with it earlier and must have set the alarm.

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    6. Another one here for the tinnitus club! I'm currently trying a white noise hearing aid to try and mask the tinnitus. It's not helping x

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    7. Lisa--Good to know. When I lost my hearing due to fluid in my ears from a virus, all I could hear for a couple months was the tinnitus. It came in loud and clear. Tinnitus Sufferers Unite!

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    8. Texas-It seems such a trivial thing, until you experience it. I'm hoping the audiologist can do some tweaking and sort out the dull bass noise that is meant to fool the brain into ignoring the whistling/ fizzing noise. I live in hope!

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    9. It drives some poor people to abject distraction

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  7. I enjoyed your video of silent St Michael's. It's a lovely old church.

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  8. It's so rare to have those golden nuggets of complete silence these days and something I look forward to when they fall in my lap

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  9. There's a lot to be said for silence. Juke boxes in cafes and pubs should have a "silence" option. "Silence" would soon become top of the hit parade.

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  10. I like the concept of silence as a sound. My niece, who is deaf, says it's what she hears and now we needn't talk about it any more.

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  11. That is a wonderful, old church. Nothing quite like silence. My old farmhouse is at the end of a country road. No sounds, except nature.

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  12. lovely little country church. when my insomnia kicks in round midnight, the silence is FABU!

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  13. Silence is golden......with everything there is to entertain us today... i wonder how many people actually sit in silence... be still... listen ... peace ... you can hear your own thoughts... the world stops for a moment.. I don't do it often enough John.. thanks for the reminder........Hugs! deb

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  14. I love total and complete silence, but it's rare to find. Sometimes I'm really enjoying the silence at night lying quietly in my bed half asleep, then a truck drives past the window ... we are right on a busy A road ... Alan responds by saying something totally absurd in his sleep and I wake myself up properly by laughing at him.

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    1. Yes we have an A road in the village , the hum of traffic can drive you mad outside

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  15. My cottage in the winter is silent. Once in a while, you hear the ice cracking and I often just stand and listen. Then I come in and start the fire. It's very calm.

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  16. I like a bit of pure silence. It clears my brain wonderfully. I'll never understand those people who have to have background noise at all times.

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  17. I hear the words of the Anglican service from my childhood. Yes, it's a friendly place.

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  18. even i would go to that church!

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  19. I like to read or write or paint or draw in silence. :)

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  20. I don't know why but silence in a church always feels different to me & more special x

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    1. I think it's a combination of stillness and subdued light,

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  21. Anonymous4:51 pm

    Nice little church, some close ups of the stained glass one day?

    I am in the same position as you, love churches, clean my local church but do not believe in God, and no I am not “spiritual” (whatever that means). I like old buildings and am in complete awe of their construction...the man power! The money! It is amazing.

    Our local church is just up a very quiet lane from our house. A couple of summers ago, we were cleaning with the old wooden door open but the metal screened one closed (have to keep those birds out). I heard a MEOW from outside and it was one of our black cats, HuW. I opened the door and he explored. He seemed to be impressed how big it was. After a good snip around, he jumped over a few pews, found one that he liked and sat down. We were the supervised as we cleaned. Now he often follows us up when we clean.

    Traveller

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    1. Some of my chickens used to sunbathe outside the church door

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  22. The stone, stained glass, and polished wood create a beautiful, picturesque church. So quiet and peaceful.

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  23. This lovely post is just what I needed to hear. No pun intended. Thanks.

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  24. I love Churches and being in them but I am not religious.

    When my mother lived in the old coastguard house, Penmon Point, Anglesey it was silent and dark at night. So silent once I remarked that the lighthouse bong had stopped. It was soon fixed !

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    1. I've never heard a lighthouse bong

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  25. Like you, John, I have no religion yet love the quiet and peace to be found in churches. It's been many years since I've been in one now, though.

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    1. You are clearly overdue

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  26. Beautiful church.
    In the early evening I like to sit in my backyard and enjoy the almost silent evening. I listen to the birds. I can hear the sound of their wings and the soft songs they sing. Lovely.

    cheers, parsnip and mandibles

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  27. I too love being inside an empty church and just sitting there listening and hearing the tiny non -sounds of an empty ancient building .
    I live next to a forest and those sounds are all I hear, birds and the wind and once in a while, the sound of a USNavy fighter jet screaming off into the sky.
    Just in case it’s too peaceful around here:)

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    1. The bird call can be almost deafening when u need quiet

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  28. Appears you were meditating, John. It would be a good practice to get into on a regular basis for us all. Enjoying the silence through the sounds of our lives around us.
    I like some churches as well....not all. They can be very peaceful when they are empty.

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  29. I am lucky enough to have spent many hours, days and weeks working in the silence of ancient churches. Even if you are not at all a Christian, you have to be affected in a positive and calming way by just being in them. They really do serve a purpose which goes way beyond formal religion.

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    1. I agree.....a place to sit and meditate ....to rare in this busy world.....I would advocate everyone to sign up for church cleaning

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    2. A good church is like an old and established forest.

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  30. Anonymous8:55 pm

    I worked outside during a heavy fog. There was complete silence. It was a bit disconcerting. A car came through and brought me back to life with a jolt. That had to be over 40 yrs. ago. It made quite the impression.
    Disturbed, the band, sings a beautiful rendition of Sound of Silence. (The imagery is awful, though.)
    Debbie

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    1. Fog sucks noise like a sponge with water

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  31. Lovely video of this pretty church for me a church is a gathering place for friends and neighours to share happy and sad times, I don't consider my self religeous or believe in an after live. Sorry getting side tracked it's supposed to be about silence hard to find these days.

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    1. It's a little heartbreaking to think that so many of these places of peace are dying away

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    2. Anonymous10:06 am

      Sadly many churches are being sold and then renovated into flats etc.
      I love visiting churches not just for the beauty and architecture. Also the huge space, solitude and stillness within, can creates a special atmosphere in which to connect to mind,body and spirit. Peace and relaxation can happen as soon as you enter a church. Great place to meditate.

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    3. Anonymous11:23 pm

      Kevin

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  32. Lovely video.
    Silence is rare, and precious.

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  33. My husband lived in India for a while and he learned how to meditate and how to teach others to meditate.
    Then he came home to NY and opened the first Meditation Center.
    So when we met it was my good luck to have him teach me how to do it.
    I rarely do it but way back then I used to get terrible migraines and he would tell me how to meditate and it never failed, my headache would go away.
    I don’t do it every day but it is a lovely way to just be peaceful ,like a person would feel in this wonderful old church.

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  34. I believe there must be a higher level. Perhaps many. God is a label of convenience that many people use. I find many churches to be cold, dark, brutal, and draughty; unwelcoming in fact; and others to be warm, light, clean and pleasant. I don't believe in religions per se.

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  35. Like you I am not religious, but there is something about sitting quietly in an old church that brings peace..

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  36. My son's generation seems incapable of existence without the constant presence of music. The bliss when he goes out and the silence descends is immeasurable.
    Such a shame that peace and quiet has become so hard to find.

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  37. Complete silence is dreadful, but most of us have never experienced it.
    Our son had to go for hearing tests as a child, the room has to be completely silent, so has padded walls, door, ceiling, floor etc.
    It was very weird, being able to hear one's own heartbeat, seemingly from within, as there was just NO sound at all!
    I love to be somewhere in absolute quiet, being an ex librarian and all, but true silence, no thanks, it's suffocating! X

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  38. How lovely. I clean and do the flowers in our beautiful old 12th century church. I love it when it's just me and I sweep and polish and tidy silently. Yesterday for the flower part I cut some coloured stems of dogwood from my garden to add to my dried grasses and poppy seed heads and weaved some pretty veined ivy around to add a bit of greenery. (I'm trying to encourage by example the other flower ladies not to to buy in flowers but to use what we have or can forage.) And then I walked home along the footpath. So I had a walk, a bit of exercise, a bit of creativity and a bit of silent meditation. I'm 57 and am the youngest cleaner and flower arranger by a long chalk.

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  39. All I can hear is the house creaking and endless gunshots from the fields at the back . Average morning, then on Sunday we have day of chainsaws ...the joy of the countryside ..lol

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  40. My sister just goes across the bridge over the stream that runs through her garden to get to the church which she cleans and decorates with flowers from her garden, even though she doesn't go the (now only monthly) services, except for a christening or a funeral. When she cleans there her cat always accompanies her and inspects for mice under the altar frontal.

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  41. And yet another tinnitus sufferer here.

    I used to love the sound of silence, but since there is no such thing any longer, we pretty much always have music playing, or, more rarely, the TV.

    I would dearly love to sit in an old stone church and think peaceful thoughts, but the "crickets" in my ears would soon drive me mad.

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  42. For the past five years I've worked in a warehouse on a machine that separates clothes. Trust me, I appreciate silence now more than at any other time in my life.

    Regarding the song "The Sounds of Silence". I don't think you want Dustin anywhere near St. Michael's if Katherine Ross is getting married there.

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  44. "Fools", said I, "You do not know
    Silence like a cancer grows..."

    That kind of total silence is something I rarely experience.

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  45. It's always nice to enjoy a quiet moment. Thanks for the "virtual" church tour!

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  46. Two vivid memories remind me how surrounded we are by both noise and light. When 9/11 grounded all the planes for a day or 2 in the US, I was amazed to hear how silent it was. I think it's difficult to get away from the noise of aircraft almost anywhere--although we seem to tune it out.
    Light pollution is pretty bothersome, too. Once when my family and I were staying at a lodge in Yellowstone Park, on the edge of the large lake, the power went out, and the darkness was profound. My small son was quite frightened until we went outside (by candlelight), and stood on the edge of the lake feeling almost drowned in stars. Both Montana and Wyoming (which edge the huge park) are pretty sparsely populated, and that escape from ambient light was a very rare and yes, awesome, experience.

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