Saturday, October 9, 2021

Stilte by Mirjam van der Vegt

I know there are commands in Scripture to be still or silent, a vital part of spiritual growth and transformation. I have learned from van der Vegt that being still or silent does not necessarily mean the kind of inaction we usually think of as meditation. The idea she presents in this book is more a way of life, encountering quietude and discovering life to the full. She draws from the instruction of St. Benedict.

Silence is not an end in itself but is part of the journey within to the heart and an encounter with God. Van der Vegt realizes this is an ongoing struggle. She provides helps to discover the value of silence and practical keys to pursue it.

Some of her keys were expected, like getting rid of multitasking (pay full attention to the moment God has given you), breathing exercises, and free write journaling. Others were surprising, such the role of children (like monastery bells calling your attention), paying attention to your body and eating in silence.

This is a book for people who want to explore silence as the avenue to a deeper relationship with God but have become frustrated with the usual meditation techniques. Many of van der Vegt's suggestions include action like walking or baking bread. You'll come to realize that quietude can coincide with activity. While that is good news to busy people, you'll also be encouraged to find your identity in who you are, not what you do, and to evaluate your activities.

I highly recommend this book. It is a very good source for pursuing quietude in a variety of ways as a means to a deeper relationship with God, from praying to going on a retreat to helping others. There are forty suggestions so this book is a good resource for Lenten reading. I highly recommend it to any reader on a spiritual journey.

My rating: 5/5 stars.

Former journalist Mirjam van der Vegt has been intrigued by silence and its use in monastic traditions. During a difficult time in her life, she decided to dedicate herself to unraveling the mysteries surrounding silence. Over the years, she has written several books on the topic. She has led numerous retreats and training sessions in which participants learn to bring mindfulness, peace, and contemplation into their personal daily practice. You can find out more at

Worthy Publishers, 208 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

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