For the abbas (fathers) and ammas (mothers) of the desert, solitude with its silence was a creative medium, a forge of transformation through which the false self in its adaptation to the pride, luxury, lust for power, and greed of the "world" was melted away in the fires of spiritual discernment. One emerged from the silence as a transformed self ... a person of humility, compassion, and responsiveness to the Word of God.
Silence was much more than not speaking, it was mostly a quality of heart. It was the creation of an inner space where genuine listening takes place. The ammas and abbas knew that in silence the Word most readily takes root.