This week the Encountering Silence podcast features just the three of us — Cassidy, Kevin and Carl — reflecting on this extraordinary moment we find ourselves in.
Recorded on March 24, 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, naturally we are reflecting on the spirituality of silence and solitude while much of the world has embraced the necessity of sheltering-at-home and social distancing in order to slow the spread of the virus.
But we also recognize that the challenges we are collectively facing during this pandemic could have parallels in almost any crisis situation — any time when life’s circumstances present us with situations where we recognize we are not fully in control, we are faced with silence and solitude that may not be of our own choosing, and we are invited to recognize how important it is to embrace our common humanity and relatedness to one another.
Silence is all about releasing control, and all about letting go and being, and melting into this vision of unity… this collective common good, this oneness. — Cassidy Hall
You’ve been trained, your whole life, to focus on thinking, words, achievement, doing… so now when you having something like silence and stillness, we don’t have places for that in our culture, forced upon you… well, it’s a struggle, because you’re fighting a habit. — Kevin Johnson
Some of the resources and authors we mention in this episode:
- Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander
- St. Benedict, The Rule of Saint Benedict
- Julian of Norwich, The Showings of Julian of Norwich
- Blaise Pascal, Pensées and Other Writings
- The Desert Mothers and Fathers, Early Christian Wisdom Sayings
- The Beatles, “All Together Now,” Yellow Submarine
- The Tao te Ching
- The Qur’an
- Kerry Connelly, Good* White Racist: Confronting Your Role in Racial Injustice
- Audre Lord, The Collected Poems
- Sarah Griffith Lund, Blessed are the Crazy: Breaking the Silence about Mental Illness, Family and Church
- Rick Hanson with Richard Mendius, Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom
- Gerald May, The Awakened Heart: Opening Yourself to the Love You Need
- Teilhard de Chardin, The Heart of Matter
- Howard Thurman, Meditations of the Heart
- Robert Bringhurst and Jan Zwicky, Learning to Die: Wisdom in the Age of Climate Crisis
- Therese Schroeder-Sheker, Transitus: A Blessed Death in the Modern World
- David Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous: Pereption and Language in a More-Than-Human World
- Erazim Kohák, The Embers and the Stars: A Philosophical Inquiry into the Moral Sense of Nature
- Wendell Berry, The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry
At the end of the episode, Cassidy quotes from the wonderful poem “Stay Home” by Wendell Berry. Here is a recording in which Berry reads his own poem, followed by a musical setting of it, from the CD Celebrating Wendell Berry in Music.
Silence and solitude and stillness and contemplation do not exist just to facilitate action. There is a place in which silence and solitude and stillness exist simply because they are good and they are necessary. — Carl McColman
Episode 93: Encountering Silence in Times of Crisis
Hosted by: Cassidy Hall
With: Carl McColman, Kevin Johnson
Date Recorded: March 24, 2020