NO Talking
TV  Radio  Phone
Music  Reading*
Computer or Internet

Submit your questions here.

What is the purpose of No Talk?
What will happen during No Talk?
How in the world do I not talk or watch TV for that long?
What about Other People?
Can I talk to God when alone or can I sing?
What if I “slip up” and say something?

What is the purpose of No Talk?

“Before we can listen, before we can truly hear the Word of God addressed to our hearts, the spirit and practice of silence is essential. Silence is not a rejection of the neighbor but rather an attentiveness to what lies at the heart of reality once all the clutter of daily life is cleared away. Only one who has learned how to be silent, who has learned how to go beyond the noise from inside and outside himself, will be able to hear the cry of others, as well as the call of God.”  from The Elements of The Life of A Benedictine Monk

Modern society is a barrage of man-made sound. We eat with music and incessant talking in the background. We work amidst constant chatter and noise. At home it is only quiet when we go to sleep and  many sleep with the television on. The sounds of the modern world constantly bombard us when we are awake and often even intrude into our sleep.

Silence to achieve a higher spiritual and mental state is not a modern phenomena. Why do you think that many monks and monastic orders required vows of periodic or extended silence to join? In ancient days many monks were required to minimize or totally refrain from talking. They recognized the great value of silence to help the mind and spirit. We have gotten away from the basic practice of simply being quiet and surrounding ourselves with quiet to let our minds and spirits rest, rejuvenate and communicate with the Creator.

If you look at the great spiritual leaders of old, not only did they often fast when they had great transformation and revelation, but they were also alone and in the midst of silence from all man-made sound.

Moses went on the mountain ALONE for 40 days and was transformed. Elijah went through the desert ALONE for 40 days and at the end of his journey he heard the voice of God in the STILL small voice. Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness away from all human influence and sound for 40 days. Satan was with him and you will also initially struggle and war with negative forces from both inside of you and from outside influences.

No Talk days allow you get away, calm down, reach inside and hear from above. Sometimes it’s not best to “talk it out.” Sometimes it’s best to just shut up and listen not to that which was created, but to the Creator.

“Talking comes by nature, silence by wisdom.”

What will happen during No Talk?
First, all such spiritual and natural journeys such as No Talk  will have different results for different people. Although the specifics may be different, there are some common elements, particularly the three Ts.

It’s not easy shutting up. Not just in terms of not talking but in not receiving any input from the human world. We don’t realize how addicted we are to the constant rattle of the world until it stops and all is quiet

At first it is nice, then our mind starts. We begin thinking and can’t shut it off. We get stir-crazy. We want to talk to someone or listen or watch something. We aren’t accustomed to the silence and it is similar to going without food. We crave and hunger for the diet of distractions of the world. Our mind is in turmoil. In truth, during No Talk we come face to face with the greatest challenge that we all face - OURSELVES!

As time passes we change. The amount of time this requires varies by the individual. For some it may be as little as 12 hours. For others it may take days before our high speed minds slow down and shift gears to a calmer pace.

We slowly move from turmoil into another realm...

Our minds slowly move into peace. We are able to just sit and relax. The birds become our radio and the stars our television. We are able to tune to the channels of creation. A verse from the Bible sums it up nicely: “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.”(Rom 1:20 KJV)

When we are quiet, we can hear and see what was made by Him because only those things are allowed in. We in effect, change the channel. Once we tune to God’s channel, peace enters.

Tranquility is usually a temporary thing. We are peaceful when our surroundings are peaceful but once we reenter the hustle and bustle of the world, our peace leaves.

Tranquility is temporary because it is based upon our surroundings. Once the surroundings change, we change.

Transformation is permanent. There comes a point during No Talk when WE CHANGE. It happens inside of us, and it is not just because we are experiencing something different outside of us. We change! When that happens and when we go back to the noise, we have the peace of silence and tranquility within.

You usually need a minimum of three No Talk days for transformation to occur but many will need more days.

How in the world do I not talk or watch TV for that long?
There are some very practical steps that you must take to successfully achieve the great benefit of No Talk.

First, you have to get away!
There is a reason that in all of the great spiritual literature those who had great experiences usually had to isolate themselves from the rest of humanity for a time. They had to get away and shut themselves off from everyone and everything that was distracting.

You may not be able to go to a mountaintop or a wilderness. As a matter of fact, unless you are a very experienced outdoors person, I absolutely don’t recommend it. But you do need to get away somewhere.

If you can afford both the money and time, travel somewhere. Go to a cabin, an isolated hotel, a retreat or anywhere else where you can be reasonably left alone. The more in the midst of nature the better but you may just not be a nature person. At least try to go somewhere where you won’t hear cars and commotion on a regular basis. Get away to somewhere quiet.

Even most motels and hotels are reasonably quiet. Try to find one where you can go and walk and spend time outdoors undisturbed.

To “understand Him by the things that are made...”
get among the things that God made.

Don’t stay locked up in a room with the curtains drawn. Get among the trees, sun, sky, water, animals and the other things that are made not by man but by The Creator. Just stay away from people as much as possible. Don’t sit still all day. Get out and walk. Exercise your body but keep your mind quiet.

Second, Leave your stuff behind
Don’t take your cell phone, laptop, books, etc. And NO, you can’t read even spiritual books so take no books either. The only communication tool that you are allowed is a blank notebook or notepad and pen to write with. You are allowed to write but not to read anything other than what you have written during No Talk.

Q: Do you mean that I can’t even take a Bible?
A: You can read the Bible or the dominant spiritual book of your faith EXCEPT during the first and last 24 hours of NoTalk. That means if you only observe NoTalk for 2 days then you cannot read even the Bible during those two days. If you observe NoTalk for 3 or more days, then you may read the Bible or the dominant spiritual book of your faith after the first 24 hours but not during the last 24 hours. You MUST read an old fashion printed Bible, no tapes, CDs, electronic Bibles or reading from the web. Use a printed book.

No reading of any kind is allowed during the first and last 24 hours and only the Bible or the dominant spiritual book of your faith during the other days. Remember none of those in the Bible during their No Talk days had any reading material with them. They eventually heard directly from God concerning them and their situation.

Third, get all of the stuff that you will need in advance.
During No Talk it’s best not to go out too much. The more isolated you remain, the more effective things are. If you get a hotel room, get one with a kitchen and full sized refrigerator (unless you are fasting) so that you can prepare your meals in your room and won’t have to go out to eat or to order food. After all, it’s hard to order room service and you can’t talk isn’t it?

Other people
During No Talk you may have to deal with people who will expect you to talk. For example, if you do have to go out to eat. We’ve thought of that scenario. One of the easiest ways is the No Talk T-shirt. While wearing it you simply point to it and it explains why you aren’t talking. There are also business card sized No Talk Cards that explain things. We have made the artwork available to you so that you can simply print your own cards and spend virtually nothing. When you give a person a card, they will understand and won’t think that you are being rude. The back of the card has space for you to write them a note if you must. You are also allowed the notebook or notepad and pen/pencil so if you just must write them a note, then do so but if at all possible, avoid human communication during the No Talk.

Can I talk to God aloud when alone or can I sing?
No, keep quiet. You can talk to God without speaking. God can hear your silent prayers and thoughts. When your external voice is stilled, you will be able to hear Him better. Can you imagine how a monastery would sound if all of the monks were talking aloud to God or singing different songs? If you’ve ever been to one, then you know that it’s really quiet.

What if I “slip up” and say something?
If you make an unintentional or intentional vocal sound then add one hour to your No Talk days for each slip up. Do not look at this as a punishment but rather look at it as an opportunity to benefit longer from No Talk.

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