Friday, September 10, 2010

Silence as a Celebration

See how nature - trees, flowers, grass - grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence.... We need silence to be able to touch souls. ~Mother Teresa

During the recent ceremony for the passing of a dear friend, a group of us sat together to observe a moment of silence. It was a very powerful and bonding experience. The silence brought us closer together and through it, we acknowledged the loss more eloquently than with anything that could have been spoken.

Making silence together as adults is usually reserved for special moments, and unfortunately in my life, it has been mostly reserved for times of grief. Silence has become a consciously important part of my life this year, and as a meditation practitioner, silence in my mind as well as from my mouth has become a haven that I turn to at the end of most days. In this way I've found there is a very joyful side to silence.

I've been thinking recently about the importance of regular practice of the silence game in the environment and how, if done consistently, it can also be a very bonding experience for the group. (The best example of the silence lesson I have ever seen was at the Colegio Montessori San Juan in Puerto Rico, where the master teacher Rosemarie raised her small chalkboard that read "Silence" and there was immediate and absolute stillness in the room. It was textbook "The Secret of Childhood." Lots of tears from me when I experienced it sitting in my little observer's stool. It scarred me with an image of what quality Montessori can look like. )

Today it occurred to me that as much as I like to share moments of silence with the children, I could share it with the adults of the school as well. Our celebrations at school (birthdays, special events) tend to be quite boisterous with lots of song and rowdiness (it doesn't get more boisterous than the end of "Happy Birthday" in Dutch where everyone stands up and shouts HOORAY!!!! three times.) How about introducing silence also as a way to celebrate? Along with adults as well... As an experiment, I will try a modified version of the silence game with the adults at our first parent evening next week. I am curious about how it will feel.

1 comment:

Annicles said...

I think the silence will be very powerful for the adults. At our parents' evening last week I demonstrated a pouring exercse to show how important the Practical Life exercises are. I chose an exercise with a tall bottle, a funnel and rice to demonstrate and did it as slowly and carefully as I possibly could. It felt like minutes long! As I finished and set the materials down as carefully as possible there was a sustained and deep silence. Then one of the parents said softly - it's like a ritual. Yes! It had so much more impact than simply explaining. Many parents had a go later on and all commented on how calm and good they felt afterwards.

Definitely use the silence game in you evening. I think it will be very powerful.