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Silence Is Golden


Is it paradoxical to talk about silence? Interviewed by Caux-Expo director Andrew Stallybrass, Graham Turner, senior journalist who worked on major UK newspapers and at the BBC, told a captivated audience about the power of silence. This plenary session of the ‘Seeds of inspiration’ conference, held on 8 August, was moderated by Tim John Firth, member of the conference core team.

‘Good friends tell you the truth, but they do it with love’, Graham Turner explained. Although it could have been made with more love, it was a critical remark of a friend, when he was 24, that led him to experiencing silence for the first time. During 15 minutes, he reflected upon what he had done in his life, becoming aware of things for which he should apologise.

As time passed, Graham Turner focused on his successful career, forgetting about this episode. However, he came to think about silence again, realising that he had not lived in line with his values. Sacrificing his savings, he started repairing past actions that he considered wrong, ‘obeying to an inner voice’.

He later set about writing a book, ‘The Power of Silence’, which was published recently. This led him to various encounters, be it in a monastery in Egypt – where, despite ‘the terrible food’, he would go back immediately –, in prison, with a man who had murdered one of his friends and for whom meditation sessions had been life changing, or in Colorado, with a Trappist priest.

As Graham Turner said, ‘a lot of people in the Western world are afraid of silence, or they find it boring. However, there are many people who are preoccupied with silence: musicians regard silence as just as important as the notes they are playing.’ He therefore encouraged everyone to consider silence as a resource and to have moments of silence and reflection – which, as Nicholas Foster, conference manager, mentioned at the beginning of the session when presenting Initiatives of Change and its values, enables us to make better decisions.


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