For Your Imagination

Mini-interview: Silence with Inês V.

Inês is a consecrated lay person in a cloistered convent, a place where people dedicate their lives to prayer. She is not on social media!

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Inês V. at her convent in the French Alps. (Photo credit: Mariana Villas-Boas)

i). What role does silence play in what you do?

Silence is very important in the way I live my life because it is the place of an encounter with God. It is the place where we do nothing, think about nothing, say nothing, in order to receive everything. Silence is not an “emptiness”, it is not an absence of something. Silence is a person, it is where I can find the living God. It is that place in my day that I stop all my efforts and receive everything that I cannot do by my efforts, regardless of how great they are. 

ii). How does that silence feel to you?

Silence at first fells strange and awkward, like we don´t know what to do with it. There´s a temptation to run away and fill the apparent “emptiness”. But if we stick to it, we learn that it is not empty, it is filled with a presence that is not you. For example, if you are in the middle of a forest, and you listen to the silence, you become aware of the life that exists in creation, and that takes you beyond yourself. It´s an experience that transcends the limits of your humanity and points to the presence of a creator, of God.

iii). In today’s world, people often struggle with silence. Do you feel we would benefit from a bit more silence? How could we go about finding it?

In today’s world, we are experts are running away from silence. It makes us uncomfortable, and we don´t know what to do with it. Silence is something that is within reach of everyone. It can be learned and needs to be practiced. Don´t worry if at first it is really hard. Be persistent. First, put down your phone, your tablets and computers. Find a place where you are comfortable, close your eyes, and take 5 minutes to just listen. Just listen… become aware of the sounds that surround you. Slowly silence your mind and just listen. Become aware of your breathing. Just listen… I particularly like doing this when I am out in nature. 


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