Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Looking for silence in unlikely places, Ireland

Derek Sivers (sivers.org, 12-11-17); Pat Macpherson (ed.), Wisdom Quarterly
Some people think they need to go all the way to Thailand to meditate, or to India to learn yoga. But of course these are things they can do for free at home (Tina Leggio/Derek S.)
Unlikely Places and Unentangled Goals
Oh, to finally find peace and quiet!
I once went without food for ten days, and that was fine. But the two things I can’t do without for long are solitude and silence (freedom from people and their noise).
I was on holiday in Ireland with seven members of my family, all packed into a van, exploring the country. A week after they returned home, I had to be at a conference in Dublin. So in between those two, I wanted nothing but solitude and silence. 
An Irish friend suggested I stay at Mount Melleray Abbey -- a monastery of Cistercian Christian Trappist monks, who are known for their silence, with a guest room that’s FREE for whoever asks.

We like to keep it quiet...unless we  have guests to chat up.
Wow, perfect, the ideal place to stay! I emailed and asked. They said yes. So I prepared for a solid week of silence. I took my family to the airport and drove straight to the abbey.

When a monk met me at the door and showed me the way to my room, I was surprised that he spoke. I thought we’d all be silently gesturing. He told me meals would be served twice a day down the hall.
At dinner time I went down the hall, again expecting silent gesturing. But instead there was a room of 30 other guests from around the world, all chattering away. I tried to sit alone, but there was no way to do it.

One loud American latched onto me and bombarded me with shallow questions. I gave vague one-word answers, but that wasn’t enough. I quickly ate and retreated to my room again. I thought about how I’d avoid this chatter for the next six days. More

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