So, there I was sitting at my computer writing about the simplicity and silence of the monastic life for this evening’s blog. I have a lot to say about this topic—it’s something I think about often. I had lined up quotes from Herman Melville and Pico Iyer, Thomas Merton and Wayne G. Barr, all about the blessings of silence and solitude. How they can help us hear the truth. How they can provide sustenance for the soul. How they allow us to hear the Universe speaking. And how the monastic path provides them. Pretty deep stuff.
And then, the power went out. Just as I was writing something about creating space for silence in your life, silence came visiting. And it brought along its best friend, darkness. No lights. No air conditioning. No refrigeration. It’s amazing how a run-of-the-mill power outage can make you appreciate electricity. “I wonder how how widespread this outage is?” I thought to myself. “Maybe I’ll go online and find ou—oh wait.” No Internet service. No T.V. No radio.
My husband, home for the day on this 4th of July, suggested we find a café that still had power. It would be air conditioned there, and we could go online and find out how long they expected the outage to last. But I’ve been sick with a cold and just wasn’t up to leaving the house. So he took off, and I waited it out in our basement—the only cool place in the house.
Before I start sounding like this was some sort of adventure, let me point out that I had my car and my phone. It’s not like I was alone in a lifeboat out at sea. Still, it did feel like a kind of enforced silence.
Nothing can make you feel less enthusiastic about the monastic path than not having Internet service for a couple of hours. It made me realize how used I am to being able to find out what’s going on in the world with the click of a mouse or a remote. With my ties to the “outside world” cut off, I had no way of knowing if the juice would be on in an hour or two, or if this was going to be some nightmarish scenario where we had to spend the entire sweltering night without a.c. I had to practice the things I’d just been writing about—things like patience and acceptance.
Still, after a time, it started feeling rather peaceful waiting in my dark, isolated basement cell. I wrote. I waited. I stopped worrying about the fact that I didn’t know what was going on. At first, it was uncomfortable not having the world at my fingertips by way of email and online news and Facebook and Twitter and TV. Then it was all right. In fact, for awhile, it was rather sublime.
Causes Jill Jepson Supports
Humane Society of the United States, Defenders of Wildlife, Interational Society for the Protection of Burros and Mustangs, National Wildlife Federation,...