A Jew's Search For Silence
Clive Lawton embarks on a personal quest to understand the mystery and power of silence as a tool of worship.
There are strands of pretty much every faith which embrace the notion of silence as a means of worship. The monastic Christian tradition has seen individual monks and nuns take vows of silence lasting years; Quakers meet in largely unbroken silence; Buddhism devotes much energy to the power of silent meditation.
Clive Lawton, however, is used to life as a practising Jew, where speech, debate and discussion is fundamental. During worship people mill around without fear of being hushed, and even the silent prayers are more commonly muttered than recited in the head. So for him, silence as a tool of faith is something of a mystery, and in this programme he sets out to understand it better.
Along the way he visits a city-centre church where people seek quiet refuge from the noise and bustle outside; he joins a Buddhist meditation class; he visits a Quaker centre to get to grips with that tradition's devotion to quietness. Along the way he grapples with the question of what silence can offer a person of faith, and questions whether he has been missing out on a profound communion with God that only quietness can hope to provide.