The sun is shining and the world outside has fallen into a deep (coronavirus) silence.
Where traffic once roared, now there is just the occasional murmur. Where machinery and loud voices filled the air, now birdsong echoes through clear skies.
Our human endeavour has gone quiet, cast underground.
On Monday, anticipating lockdown, I walked into town for a quick last trip to the chemist. As I pushed my baby through the park, I noticed an elderly lady, sitting quietly on a bench, face turned to the sun, eyes closed. A man walked by, silent, at a distance, head bowed. On the grass, a young family kicked a football. Everyone savouring life. Wholly present to this moment.
I felt as though I was walking through a silent meditation retreat.
This sacred, spacious silence, so familiar to me from my annual mindfulness retreats. So different from the noise, chaos, demands and relentless obligations of our ordinary world.
Listening with our hearts
Words are too abrupt for the place we have gone. This hushed, private world.
In the silence, we find a deep listening. What is happening here? Where is this taking us? How can I help?
As we settle into this space and silence, can we listen differently? Move slow enough to feel life with our bodies and hearts, not just our minds?
Perhaps, in this strange and silent world, something new can be heard.
A worldwide silent retreat
As I write, a quarter of the world’s population are in lockdown. Unimaginable, only a few weeks ago.
What will we learn here? What will we discover, in this collective retreat from life? How will we change, as we remember how to listen to the deep silence of life?
What new depth may inform our living, when – finally – we emerge from our homes, and back out into a world of activity?