January 1997 (Vol. X, No. 1)

EVERY GOOD WISH to you, friends, in this new year as we begin the tenth year of this Friends of Silence newsletter. As we eah continue to take time in silence, our cumulative silences will bring blessing to family, friends and community -- even rippling out to the world.

In silence and solitude that you will find your most meaningful real moments

It is often in silence and solitude that you will find your most meaningful real moments. Silence nourishes the soul and heals the heart. It creates an insulated space between you and the noisy, demanding world you live in, a womb of stillness in which you can be reborn over and over again. Silence has a regenerative power of its own. It is sacred. It returns you home. Solitude is very necessary for silences to go deep... Silence will help you see clearly, sometimes for the first time, exactly what is out of balance in your life. When you make the time for the apparent non-doing of silence and solitude, your doing will become much more effective and meaningful.

~ from REAL MOMENTS by Barbara DeAngelis thanks to Mary Lou Evans

The goal of healthy solitude is love

The goal of healthy solitude is love: love and acceptance of ourselves as we are and where we are, and love and compassion for others.

~ from SINGLENESS by Dorothy Payne

There are few things as powerful as solitude

There are few things as powerful as solitude to help you get in touch with your inner self -- especially when that solitude is accompanied by silence and the elimination of outside stimuli... Solitude give you the opportunity to confront your inner self in ways that few other endeavors can. Out of your times of solitude come serenity, peace of mind, and unparalleled opportunities to connect with your soul.

~ from INNER SIMPLICITY by Elaine St. James

Solitude builds up

Solitude builds up, affords a conscious setting in which significant growth in the life of the Spirit can take place. Solitude is a gift of time without accompanying distraction, an opportunity to keep company with one's own soul. It is where the Spirit can help one harness one's own cross in such a way that it can be carried without too great strain... Solitude is conducive to journaling, reflection, meditation and is indispensable to contemplation.

~ from ON HALLOWING ONE'S DIMINISHMENTS by John Yungblut

God wanted me empty, alone, silent and watchful

I watched ice form on the river outside my window one Sunday afternoon and felt loneliness more intense than any I could remember since childhood. The day had grown incredibly still -- so deep it seemed poised at the edge of eternity... Nearly empty, I could not hope to fill myself -- certainly not with human companionship -- and I began to sense that this was exactly as it should be. God wanted me empty, alone, silent and watchful. I was suffering from both sever laryngitis and a lame leg, and had to laugh at myself, wondering if I was really so dense that God had to resort to these extremes in order to get me to shut up and be still.

~ from THE CLOISTER WALK by Kathleen Norris
The Cloister Walk
By Kathleen Norris

To move toward the desert

To move toward the desert where interior prayer and interior transformation can take place means a willingness to go into the desert, to learn to shut the door, and to move into the necessary solitude which prayer and the deeper levels of worship require.

~ Douglas Steere

If we cannot be still

If we cannot wait,
we cannot know the
right time to move.

If we cannot be still,
our actions will have
gathered no power.

~ Unknown

Solitude is a return to one's own self

Solitude is a return to one's own self when the world has become filled with people and too much of a response to others. Solitude is as much an intrinsic desire in us as our gregariousness. Hermits, solitary thinkers, independent spirits, recluses, although often stigmatized in the modern world, are healthy expressions of our dialogue with ourself.

~ from LONELINESS AND LOVE by Clark E. Moustakas
Loneliness and Love (Spectrum Book)
By Clark E. Moustakas C. Moustakas

We have only to be still

Silence reminds us that we have only to be still and let the waters of grace refresh us and the sunlight of peace shine upon us.

~ S. Wendy Beckett

Solitude and loneliness are not the same thing

Solitude and loneliness are not the same thing. Loneliness is the sign that something is lacking. The purpose of solitude is to bring us home to the center of ourselves with such serenity that we could lose everything and, in the end, lose nothing of the fullness of life at all. When you are alone, are you lonely or are in solitude? If loneliness is what it's about, what you may need most is the cultivation of the richness of solitude.

~ from IN A HIGH SPIRITUAL SEASON by Joan Chittister thanks to Patricia Prescott

The spirit of the wilderness is solitude

The spirit of the wilderness is solitude. We go alone to meet the divinity within us. The wisdom of the wilderness comes from God interacting through creation to touch our very soul. We emerge from our journey with a new identity grounded in God. Transformed, we discover we have been given back to ourselves.

~ from WISDOM FROM ANOTHER WILDERNESS by Debra Donnelly-Barton

Alone in silence?

When I retreat at home, I am alone in silence. But I am also with thousands of others around the world, sitting quietly, all of us bonded together in our effort, our solitude, and our prayers... We are opening our hearts, alone but all-one, joining others throughout the centuries in timeless realms.

~ from SILENCE, SIMPLICITY AND SOLITUDE by David A. Cooper

A silent listener awaiting Being

On a clear winter morning, just as the sun rises high enough for its slanting rays to shine horizontally through the trees ~ I lay my track through the snow -- a silent listener awaiting Being. And Being responds. I move so silently and swiftly that deer, rabbits and weasels are surprised and caught in their inner lives; so swiftly and silently they do not flee but stand out in their beings... The earth more present, the sky more present, I, the human, more present in total awareness.

~ Dolores La Chapelle