Saturday, 30 October 2010

The Big Silence (3)

The second of the three-part series following 5 people who embarked on a journey through silence to better understand their deeper selves was broadcast last night. The five volunteers had been taken out of their busy everyday lives to spend 8 days at St.Bueno's in North Wales, time that was spent in silence save for a daily half hour session with a spiritual guide.
The pace of the programme was very slow as the transition of each volunteer into acceptance and the embrace of the deeper silence took place in front of us. At the end each had undergone a transforming experience, one that they would now carry back with them to the 'real' world.
Next week's programme will follow their subsequent progress and will allow us to see whether they can hold on to what they had gained at the retreat. It is compulsive and at times very moving. Both the first programmes are available on BBC i-player. If the Channel Controller BBC-1 is reading this, can I suggest a repeat showing at a more popular time. All religious programming should be this good.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

The Big Silence (2)

An intriguing first programme. Meeting my son in London for a weekend home from university meant I missed the original transmission (which just tends to prove my point that 7:00pm is just simply the wrong time, 9:00pm would be far better) , so I caught up with the programme this morning via the BBC iPlayer.

"When people enter into the silence that's when they meet God.......". For those of us lay people whose lives surrounded by noise and busy-ness, that is a potentially disturbing yet truly inspiring reflection. I look forward to the rest of this series.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

The Big Silence

Tucked away at the less popular time of 7:00pm, BBC2's new series 'The Big Silence' starts this evening. As the BBC website has it: "Abbot Christopher Jamison, a Benedictine monk, believes that he can teach five ordinary people the value of silent meditation, as practised by monks in monasteries, so they can make it part of their everyday lives. He sets up a three-month experiment to test out whether the ancient Chrisitan tradition of silence can become part of modern lives."

If its half as absorbing as "The Monastery" it will be worth watching. Its not often that religious programming is given space to make a case for the alternatives to secular living. Perhaps BBC2 might be tempted to re-run the programme at 9:00pm when the busy people it could engage are actually sitting at home?

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Mixed Emotions......

Big day yesterday as we took our son to University. As far as I can gather he settled in OK - within 10 minutes of arriving he disappeared with a few other new arrivals, clutching some of the finest beverages on offer from the lager brewers of Europe. So much for the bit that says: will he be able to meet other people and make friends?

As a parent I realise the adjustment parents have to make when the people dearest to us do what we brought them up to do - fly the nest and start making their way in the world. At which point you then ask yourself: can they cope? Parenthood is never a short term project. It seems to last well past the point when other people would tell you they are adults and perfectly able to fend for themselves.

For all that, I feel blessed. I will miss my son (and in a year or so's time with any luck my daughter) like mad. Not just because they are my children. But rather because I really like them. They are nothing like me but they are great when they are around. That is a fantastic thing to take from 18+ years of parenting and I hope that others in a similar position feel the same way.

But it is still bittersweet...........just when your children grow into the people you like to be around, they go and leave you. That's how it's supposed to be, but its still not easy.