3 minutes of silence a day, just what the Bishop ordered…

News from England today of a very different sort of Anglican initiative:

“The Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, Anglican Bishop of Reading, is stopping commuters in their tracks today to hand out egg timers at his local mainline train station with this challenge: take three minutes of silence a day to transform your life.

Bishop Stephen is urging the country to discover what happens when we simply stop and rest, in a passionate plea for the nation to ditch endless ‘to do’ lists, constant streams of emails, and an increasingly ’24/7′ culture.

Instead, by binning instant tea and coffee in favour of traditional methods that create time for reflection during their preparation, appointing a ‘happy hour’ when all televisions and radios in the house are switched off, baking bread, or simply enjoying a lengthy lie-in, the bishop’s book encourages readers to appreciate the need to create pauses in daily life – for our own, and society’s, health and wellbeing.

In Do Nothing to Change Your Life, the Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell urges readers to take daily opportunities to just pause, wait and ponder. He argues that taking such ‘time out’ can help kick start an adventure of self-discovery and creativity that could transform the way we see life. For Christians, he argues, this fresh perspective of relishing every moment with a greater attentiveness will improve our relationship with God.”

There’s really something to this (said your intrepid reporter as he types this up at 6:26 AM on his day off, having already read his morning email and watching the morning news lines…).

I remember a week about 10 years ago when I was coordinating a visit to Western PA by Lord Donald Coggan (the former Archbishop of Canterbury.) I was rushing around one morning, trying to get him picked up at the club where he was staying, and out on the road in time for our first appointment of the morning when I nearly knocked him over as I rushed down the hall to find him.

He looked at me rather gently and said, “Sit down here with me for a moment. How are you doing this morning?” And then we made quiet chit-chat for five minutes. (I pointed out that we were going to be late. He didn’t seem to care.) When we got up to leave, I was much more collected and behaving more like a member of the clergy.

I’ve not forgotten that moment. Lord Coggan had given me the gift of peace and re-centering in the middle of a very busy day. I’ve learned since that being able to do that for others comes of having a healthy prayer life and the ability to quickly find your way back to the stillness of the silence that is found in prayer.

Of course, I *occasionally* forget that… Grin.

Read the rest here: Independent Catholic News

Author: Nicholas Knisely

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...