In Pursuit of Silence, Earth Day, and the Dawn Chorus (Episode 98)

To honor the 50th Anniversary of the first Earth Day, and in recognition of the continuing challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Encountering Silence‘s own Cassidy Hall joins with her colleague at Transcendental Media, Patrick Shen, to announce two special, limited-time opportunities:

For today’s episode of the podcast, Patrick joins us to speak about the movie, how its message is more important than ever in our world today, and offers some insight into new initiatives he is working on, including a collaborative film project celebrating silence at the break of day called the Dawn Chorus.

If we could all learn the work of silence we’d take an awful lot of pressure off of our planet, in terms of ecology, because we wouldn’t be addicted to consumption. And, we wouldn’t be wasting what we waste. … there wouldn’t be this constant seeking seeking seeking for something else to fill up that empty space, when what will fill up the empty space is actually going into the empty space. Again, it’s a paradox. To fill up that empty space, you need to go into the spaciousness of your silence that lives in your heart. 

— Maggie Ross

Meme recently seen on Facebook, which Carl alludes to in this episode.

…The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone and everything is to succumb to violence. More than that, it is cooperation in violence. The frenzy of the activist neutralizes his work for peace. It destroys his own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of his own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful….  —Thomas Merton

To hear our previous episodes featuring Patrick Shen, click here and here.

A lot of the white noise of the world has fallen away, many of us are hearing our own voices for the first time, we’re certainly much louder than before, and I think the film provides some helpful context. — Patrick Shen

Some of the resources and authors mentioned in this episode:

Episode 98: In Pursuit of Silence, Earth Day, and the Dawn Chorus: A Conversation with Patrick Shen
Hosted by: Kevin Johnson
With: Cassidy Hall, Carl McColman
Guest: Patrick Shen
Date Recorded: April 20, 2020

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Carl McColman
Author of Befriending Silence, The Big Book of Christian Mysticism, Answering the Contemplative Call, and other books. Retreat leader. Speaker. Professed Lay Cistercian.