How often are we silent? In a time of constant television, radio, computer, and musical stimulation, it can be rare to find those periods of peaceful solitude. Our minds have to take in so much information, so many images, sounds, words, and media each day that it can become almost overwhelming. We begin to crumble under the weight of demands, and sometimes forget what it is we're supposed to be concentrating on in the first place. Everyone and everything wants our attention. We're connected to so many groups, hubs, and networks, and all require our constant interaction.

Let me ask...does it ever become too much? Does media overload ever set in? When is the time for silence and meditation? When do we have time for prayer and quiet reflection, if you're a person of faith? Can there come a point when the music gets muted, the TV is turned off, and the laptop is shut...and we simply take a step back and be silent?

Lately I've had a growing interest in getting myself out into nature, out into that Great Silence, more often. This is partly due to my study of Jefferson. But I also attribute it to the fact that I feel so increasingly disconnected from the natural world. We zip through life in cars, go to work in closed boxes called offices, eat and live in air conditioned and artificially lit rooms. I have no problem with this, nor do I have any right to complain against it, for I use all of these conveniences and enjoy them. But I do feel strongly that we have a duty to respect the natural world, especially since it effectively ensures our survival on this planet.

What if we could have these moments of silence and meditation, getting away from noise and technology for a period of time, and simply immersed ourselves in nature? Is it possible to simply press "pause" for a time, step back, and enter God's beautiful creation with a sense of thoughtful expectancy?

I know life is busy and all...and I know that it can be hard to give up some of the things we depend upon each day, even for a short period of time. But in my experience, I've found that the greatest revelations, as well as some of the most exciting ideas, come during times of silence.

Go for a walk. Find a spot in the local park where no one else is around, and sit. Take a camping trip. The TV, computer, and cell phone will be right there where you left them when you get back.

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