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Moved to Create: When Staying Silent is No Longer Possible

Introduction: Echoes of Silence

I spent my last four years of schooling at a Quaker school.  Every Sunday morning, we were required to attend Silent Worship.  Expecting disgruntled, disinterested teenagers to sit together in silence for forty five minutes is indeed an act of faith.  Faces were pulled, notes were passed, occasionally wind, but despite my best, indifferent efforts, the echoes of those Sunday mornings remain with me to this day.

Echoes of Silence

Chapter One: Night Walks

An appreciation of silence has been cultivated in me ever since, I relish the great nullifying rush of emptiness.  During lockdown, night walks with my dog were steeped in the sound of glorious nothing.  Even living as I do in the countryside, we seldom experience a soundscape without the distant drone of cars or the ambient protracted roar of airplanes.  What an odd, disorientating privilege it was, to experience such a total lack of sound.

Night Walks

Chapter Two: Expanded Thoughts

In silence my thoughts can expand outwards, beyond the confines of my head and out into the waiting world.  Ideas can drift without concern for logic or coherence.  Liberated from the cumbersome syntax of causality, thoughts can converge through free association.  In this fluid multi-dimensional mass of shifting consciousness, connections and realizations that would usually elude me, simply arrive.

Expanded Thoughts

Chapter Three: Enjoying Silence

It can be argued that filling silence with thought is no different from filling it with sound.  There is undeniable value in the simple act of appreciating silence.  It is strangely challenging to sit in silence, resisting the compulsion to fill it with noise or thought.  Of course, for as long as we are resisting the compulsion, we are not truly appreciating the silence.  There is a rare and indescribable bliss in those seldom moments, where I find myself in the act of enjoying silence.

Enjoying Silence

Chapter Four: Moved to Minister

Quaker worship does not have a formal minister as such, but rather members of the congregation can share their thoughts by being, what is referred to as, “moved to minister”.  As I came to understand, a worshiper would only stand and share their thoughts when it became more difficult to stay seated and remain silent.

Moved to Minister

Conclusion: Moved to Create

I feel creative people have the same relationship with the projects they end up making.  I, and I assume other creative people, have many ideas.  My phone is a wreckage of ditties, mantras, and lyrics.  My hard drive, a wasteland of abandoned tracks, random musical ideas, and messy demos.  The tracks I end up making are the ones that would not leave me alone.  Lyrics that find their way back into my head again and again.  A subject, an idea, or observation upon which I can no longer bear to stay silent, I must stand and share it with the congregation.

Moved to Create

What about you?  What moves you to minister?

What Moves You To Minister?

Moved to Create: When Staying Silent is No Longer Possible

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