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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sounds of Silence

The shofar blast startles me every time I hear it - even when the sound is emanating from my breath.  All around me are sounds, every waking moment.  Silence may be golden, perhaps, but silence is also fleeting.  My day begins with the music gently floating from my alarm, followed by beeps and buzzes and rings and dings and knocks and calls get the idea. That is our reality....unless we choose to break the cycle.

A spiritual practice I once embraced involves simply sitting in silence - first for a few minutes, then after a few tries, for ten minutes, then eventually for 15 or 30 minutes or more.  Perhaps an hour of true silence - perhaps a day.....It is far more difficult than it sounds, yet worth it.

I'm always amused at the challenge of even a brief silent prayer.  After 15 seconds people begin to fidget, and soon, the sounds of shuffling and coughing often begin.  We don't know what to do with ourselves.  We can't sit still, much less sit in silence.

And yet, we can.  And so I try.  To close my eyes, to listen to the sound of my own breath, to hear the sounds around me that are masked by the chaos of the day.  To listen to the sounds of silence....and perhaps, just maybe, to hear the voice of the Holy One.

Rabbi Jim Bennett
21 Elul 5774

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