Most of us live in a world full of noise and so can find silence quite difficult. Also most of us have got so much to say, and so little opportunity to share it with somebody else who will listen to us, that we grab every opportunity with both hands, forgetting that the other person may themselves need us not to speak but rather to listen to them. So these two exercises to help us to listen.
Ask the group to settle down and be still. Then play a piece of quiet music (guitar music is ideal) and invite people simply to listen to it. It is important that the music is quiet, so that people have to listen hard. (10 minutes)
Ask the group to be still and to be aware of all the sounds around them. Invite them to identify and name the sounds that they can hear, beginning with those furthest away and ending with the sounds of their own body - their breathing, heart-beat etc. (10 minutes)
Then ask the group to listen to those sounds again and firstly to give thanks to God for each of them in turn and secondly to reflect on what God may be saying to them through the sounds they can hear. (10 minutes)