Why the sound of silence is terrifying

The first episode of BBC2 programme The Big Silence really moved me. The documentary takes five people whose lives are consumed by ‘busyness’ and puts them into an eight-day silent retreat – the point being that they will eventually listen to their soul and discover their true selves.

As someone whose entire existence depends on being busy, I recognised the ‘disease’ presented in the programme. Father Christopher, a monk who has set this challenge, said we should all find 20 minutes every day to sit in silence and meditate, otherwise our soul will die.It seems so simple, yet so difficult to find 20 solitary minutes in a diary that has no room for manoeuvre, space or spontaneity.

And the thought of spending days without doing anything, or talking to someone, has me panicking, feeling claustrophobic, and clamouring to be let out and back to busyness. For me, there’s a belonging in being busy; Continue reading