Silence as a response

Hello everyone

I know that I don’t normally write two blogs so close together but I have been inspired by two things:

1) an interesting blog by Parker Palmer that addressed questions that I didn’t know I had about responding  to world events that leave me feeling perplexed and fearful.

2) whilst writing a commissioned article on mindfulness and self-compassion for nurses I found a great open access resource you might be interested in.


I guess I am not the only one who feels more and more perplexed by recent reports of violence, extremism and instability. I feel lost, fearful and completely without words. It feels that my response is one of silence and I often feel frustrated by this. Then I came across Parker Palmer’s column on Krista Tippett’s blog ‘On Being’ in which he talks about how, recently, rather than engaging in the ‘internet frenzy’ of responses to such events, his response has been silence:

‘If I want to find words and actions that might be life-giving and serve the common good, I need to reclaim my true self and recover my true voice. So I’ve been embracing the silence that has descended upon me’

It made me reflect on the importance of providing students with the opportunity to experience silence – to know that there is a spaciousness there that can be experienced. That we do not always have to make noise, to know the answer or to have an opinion. It has taken me a long time to find this – I wish someone had introduced me to it earlier! I also found solace in finding an expression of the vulnerability that can arise in response to world events.  This also came up recently, talking with colleagues about the EU referendum, which led to unexpected powerful, emotional reactions.


On a more practical note, while writing today, I have discovered a very interesting document by Shinzen Young called ‘What is mindfulness ?’. I have not yet read it in-depth but it addresses the complexity around mindfulness in a clear and direct way. It has also given me some ideas for new ways of expressing my thoughts about mindfulness as well as new ways to teach it. There is also a section on his conceptualisation of mindfulness which he discusses in relation to the scientific and spiritual domains.

Warm wishes Caroline


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