In passing by and at times being surrounded by farmland over the past few months, the beauty and vastness of the countryside has been striking. Against the occasional backdrop of mountains and the many fields of crops and shades of green, there has been much to take in and a great sense of freedom and openness to be felt. There have also been the more confining structures one would expect to see, such as barns, fences and silos. These structures serve to protect what is within and in doing so they create boundaries and barriers. Of them, perhaps the silo, into which one cannot readily see, is the most compelling.
A farm silo functions as a holding place for storing grains. It is a strong, tall, rounded container with generally no openings for the elements, including light, to penetrate. Its purpose is to prevent the grain inside from becoming compromised or spoiled. A silo does a great job of protecting grain and is both necessary and good. However, personally or in an organization… figuratively, a silo is bad news. It seeks to control the environment in ways that both compromise and spoil forward progress. It also holds back the spirit of integrity and ingenuity necessary to flourish and genuinely thrive.
As we go through life, we all come across situations, organizations and/or people through whom we experience a silo effect—having helpful information withheld, being undermined, being shut out, pushed away or alienated. Often we can easily point to or name such cases. However, it can be more difficult to see or name the instances where we may be helping to foster that experience or effect… allowing it to continue… perhaps even creating or contributing to the creation of even more silos.
The way of the world puts emphasis on acquiring and storing up things, status, reputation, chips on one’s shoulders, etc. Ultimately, they can, and often do, bring us down or cause us to be less than what we truly are. It can be difficult to recognize, yet alone to resist being swept up or carried away by this mentality, or even fighting against it. It can keep us from doing and from being… from living out our deepest, purest desires in a way that is encouraging and uplifting to others as well as ourselves. We can be led astray, fooled, or lulled over time by that which masquerades around providing a false sense of reality as well as security. We can be lured and led away from being a place of growth and harvest to a place of storage.
“You are confined only by the walls you build yourself.” – Andrew Murphy
From time to time, it is important to pause, to let the Light not only in but also to fully penetrate one’s soul, and to ask, am I a vessel or have I become a silo?