Once a visiting musician said to me in an empty auditorium, "Play, and listen to the silence between the notes. The silence between the notes is as important as the music itself." Enhanced by the emptiness, the sound of my flute soared over the space and sang back from the far wall. But the sílences where I paused to breathe were even more lovely and articulate, creating a wholeness I had not perceived before. The silence shaped itself to the voice of the flute. The loveliness of the music depended upon my saying "yes" to the silence between my notes.
Inayat Khan tells the illuminating story of a disciple who came to the teacher and started to ask a philosophical question. The spiritual teacher was, however, in deep meditation from which he would not be disturbed. He said to the disciple: "SILENCE!"
This word was so powerful that the disciple went into silence -- and remained silent for the rest of his life. However, there came a time when his silence began to speak aloud. His silent thought would manifest and his silent wish be granted; his silent glance would heal; his silent look would inspire. His silence became living.