How do we encounter silence in our teen years? Alone, or with others? In the woods, or at a church? With a sense of ecstasy, or perhaps even a healthy dose of “adolescent angst”?
In this episode we continue the conversation about “meeting” silence in the days of our youth, this week focusing on our adolescence. Like in the previous episode, such encounters carry a variety of meanings and invitations into deeper reflection, including:
- The relationship between silence, nature, solitude, and spirit (Spirit);
- How silence can emerge out of even a noisy time in one’s life;
- How silence transcends religion and spirituality to be a universal gift;
- How silence can meet us even in unintended ways and settings;
- The surprising way silence comes to us in mystical ways — and how even the most exalted mystical “experience” seems to carry its own challenges or difficulties;
- Pondering the relationship between silence and questions.
I was immediately filled with questions, and I was immediately filled with, ‘Why? What did I just do? Why did I do it?’ and looking back upon that, to me, that was God in that experience — the questions; because I’ve always been a curious person, because God was in that mystery and the silence and the loneliness of that moment. — Cassidy Hall
Some of the resources and authors we mention in this episode:
- Augustine, The Confessions of Saint Augustine
- Carl McColman, The Aspiring Mystic: Practical Steps for Spiritual Seekers
Some of the albums Carl loved as a teenager include:
- Elton John, Greatest Hits
- Emerson Lake & Palmer, Self-Titled
- Genesis, Foxtrot
- Renaissance, Ashes Are Burning
- Yes, Tales From Topographic Oceans
And while we didn’t mention them in this episode, our favorite monastic author and favorite documentary on silence always deserve a shout out:
It’s beyond words, there’s no way to describe this, but it really did make me feel that the world was a lot weirder than I thought it was, for the very first time, and I realized that my categories didn’t make sense… — Kevin Johnson
Kevin Johnson is a university professor, writer, speaker, and retreat leader based in Connecticut.
Cassidy Hall is a writer, photographer, and filmmaker based in Los Angeles.
Carl McColman is an author, catechist, and retreat leader based in Atlanta.
Episode 2: Encountering Silence In Adolescence
Hosted by: Kevin Johnson
With: Cassidy Hall and Carl McColman
Date Recorded: October 10, 2017