Intelligent silence is the mother of prayer, freedom from bondage, custodian of zeal, a guard on our thoughts, a watch on our fears, a friend of tears, a recollection of death, a concern without judgment, a foe of license, a companion of stillness, the opponent of dogmatism, a growth of knowledge, a hand to shape contemplation, hidden progress, the secret journey toward the Light. The lover of silence draws closer to God (by whatever Names).
On this bright still silent November day, we walk through bare thickets toward the lake like a silver mirror; so calm, so glassy, it holds on its wide surface all the patterns of light and air above. Its silence silences us. Its stillness stops us in our tracks. As I bend to touch a stone, I hear a voice say, "Love the earth". I cock my ear and hear the echo, faint yet unmistakable as ocean sounding in a shell. When I try to summon it once more, only my words come. A great and terrible tenderness breaks over me. Each pebble, each shell, is filled with beauty; each, in this moment, articulate, a word spoken, and I imagine beyond the grasp of hearing the great murmuring of creation beneath my feet. I feel these patient stones lie like an eternal sacrifice, offering me the ground of their existence on which to grind and crunch the pathways of my life ... I haven't begun to love the earth. Does it take the awareness of our death to wake us up to life?