Awkward Silence

Where and how can I find peace (shalom)?

Therefore, let your hearts be comforted concerning Zion; for all flesh is in mine hands; be still and know that I am God. (D&C 101:16)

Curious how in modern LDS culture we follow the culture-at-large and seek all means possible to extinguish “uncomfortable pauses.”


The noise we interject has many names: banal conversation, fidgety lifestyle, entertainment (so long a list), diversion, drugs/alcohol, recreation, a racing mind, anxiety, anger, seeking status/influence, accumulation of wealth, pretentious piety. Is it not curious that peace (shalom) never seems to contend for our attention?

Although a bit crude (found in a Wiki article), this says it well:

In the film Pulp Fiction, Mia and Vincent discuss awkward silences after a pause in their conversation at Jackrabbit Slim’s:

Mia: Don’t you hate that?
Vincent: Hate what?
Mia: Uncomfortable silences. Why do we feel it’s necessary to yak about bulls***? In order to be comfortable?
Vincent: I don’t know. That’s a good question.
Mia: That’s when you know you found somebody really special, when you can just shut the f*** up for a minute, and comfortably share silence.

Who is really special to you? (hint)


This morning I chatted with Rick (Native American & LDS member) about my upcoming primary lesson. He volunteered to help me teach about listening to the Spirit. I briefly shared my recollection of an NPR interview of a Navajo women reflecting on why attendance at an on-reservation, satellite college facility was preferable to the main campus. She contrasted the two cultures, explaining how in her culture people could sit for long periods without saying a word, and then only spoke when there was something of consequence to say.

Rick burst into one of those “so true” laughs. He not just validated the above, but went on to say (I wish I remembered his exact words) that just as the Navajo seem painfully quiet to those of European descent, the Hopi seem painfully quiet to the Navajo. Among native Americans, Hopi priests are most revered.

Again, from Wiki:

Hopi is a concept deeply rooted in the culture’s religion, spirituality, and its view of morality and ethics. To be Hopi is to strive toward this concept, which involves a state of total reverence and respect for all things, to be at peace with these things, and to live in accordance with the instructions of Maasaw, the Creator or Caretaker of Earth.


What would it be like to live in a culture like that, a culture at peace?

Is it any wonder so many of the fathers, the prophets, and the sages removed to the wilderness/mountains to commune with God?

Might the very idea of replacing spiritually destructive noise with spiritually constructive noise be fundamentally flawed?

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