I need time to listen, to examine, and to confess ... to listen for the Voice, if for no other reason that so I will recognize it more clearly in the ways it speaks into the noise and bustle of the life I lead. The silence that I seek must be nurtured until it lives in me no matter where I am at the moment. The silence I seek must be something more than the absence of the numbing noise and debilitating detail of life in our society. It must be a solitude that is transcendent, a stillness that can be found in the midst of noise, a silence that is portable.
A day filled with noise and voices can be a day of silence, If the noises become for us the echo of the presence of God. When we speak of ourselves and are filled with ourselves, we leave silence behind. When we repeat the intimate words of God that are within us, our silences remain intact.
SILENCE: an energy which extends beyond the furthest reaches of the universe — and never vanishes, a quiet which pervades every particle of this world, and glides through the blackness of the great harbor by night, and speaks differently by day. Speech is the body of silence: the word floats up from silence; it flows back into silence. The word of relationship and the quiet of the heart are inseparable — like love and the silence from which it is born, and the rest to which it returns, unceasingly.
Quiet ... silence ... tranquility. Those are qualities of life seldom enjoyed today. Incorporating silence into daily living is both possible and desirable. But in order to make silence a presence rather than an absence, we have to work at it. The effort can result in greater introspection, spiritual sensitivity and creativity. No matter how busy life becomes, anyone can discover occasions each month, each week, and even each day, to create nourishing silence.
The spaciousness of silence nurtures new sensitivities, new sense-abilities. During this phase of the spiritual journey, the emphasis will not be directly on speaking but on perceiving: on SEEING instead of just looking, on LISTENING instead of just hearing. Eyes and ears are not sufficient... To speak from the heart, we must listen to the speech of the heart, which grows articulate in being moved and is animated by the speech of the world. The eyes of the heart do not find nouns in the world, but verbs. The seeing and listening of the heart enable us to appreciate the world and all it phenomena as animate. We must simply become quiet enough, heartfully sense-able enough, to perceive and inwardly honor this silent speech of the world.
And I smile, and am silent,
And even my soul remains quiet:
It lives in the other world
Which no one owns.
The peach trees blossom.
The water flows.
If you love truth, be a lover of silence. Silence, like the sunlight, will illuminate you in God, and will unite you to God. Love silence: it brings you a fruit that tongue cannot describe. In the beginning we have to force ourselves to be silent. But then there is born something that draws us to silence. May God give you an expression of this "something" that is born of silence. After a while, a certain sweetness is born in the heart, and you are drawn almost by force to remain in silence.
A tourist spending the night in a small New England Town joined a group sitting on the porch of the general store. After several vain attempts to start a conversation asked, "Is there a law against talking in this town."
"No law against it," said one old timer. We just like to make sure it's an improvement on silence."
I feel an increasing desire to be silent with friends. Words are important in bringing hearts together, but too many words can alienate us from one another. Not every event has to be told, not every idea has to be shared. Once an atmosphere of mutual trust is present we can be silent together and let God be the One who speaks, gently and softly.
It is a paradox that we encounter so much internal noise when we first try to sit in silence.
Only in silence the word,
only in dark the light,
only in dying life.
Silence open the inner fount from which the word arises.
The act of inner attention seems to create a medieval walled garden. It is hedged about with silence and stillness, but silence and stillness are not the heart of it. At the center is a fountain and we see that everything has arranged itself around the water playing in the sunlight: here is the source of the timelessness that is everywhere apparent. The more deeply we enter, the more the fountain soars above; awe and wonder claim us.
It asks that we learn how to live, to make a particular path and fullness out of the spirit's eternity and silence.