This silence is alive, making possible a change

Coming to the red-brick church, we slip inside to rest, reflect, and lay prayerful hands on our ailing bodies. The sanctuary is empty. We sidle into pews, remove our hats, gloves, coats. Silence. Yank off our shoes. Silence.

Unlike the silence of a library with its absence of noise, of outward distractions, its rules and kindly librarians who shhhh! at you, in the empty church the silence is different. It's all about presence. Presence you can't name for what it truly is, can't see, but you can feel, if you bring your heart across the threshold of the outside world. This church could as easily be a synagogue, mosque, or a temple. There you meet yourself, and that inexpressible mystery that lies beyond you. This presence requires reverence, not obedience. We kneel at the shrine with no donation to make but our prayers -- for things beyond words, prayers of the open heart. This silence is alive, making possible a change. Silence

~ from THE EMPTINESS OF OUR HANDS by Phyllis Cole Dei and James Murray

November 2010 (Vol. XXIII, No. 10)

Greetings and gratitude, dear friends! As Thanksgiving approaches and we are reminded of our many blessings, you, our community at large, immediately come to mind. In our noisy world, how difficult it sometimes seems to find the silence that feeds our souls! We are surrounded by so many bells and buzzers, alerts and reminders -- telephones, doorbells, computer prompts and all kinds of warning beeps, the roar of traffic, radio and TV. How comforting, then, to think of all of you "out there” and recall that we all carry within us the silence we so need. We can meet together in that silent inner space at any time, wait together for the one sound that matters: that still, small voice that speaks always to those who take the time to listen. Let us gather there often.

When we center ourselves in silence

We do not need to be experts or geniuses to remember that all of existence is precious. We do not need cathedrals to remind ourselves to experience the sacred. We need only to be deeply respectful of what is fundamentally true; and that is what we rediscover when we center ourselves in silence.

~ from INVITING SILENCE by Gunilla Norris

No Poet like the great Grace of Silence

There is no dark like a night
replete with the mystery of death.
There is no truth like a fleeting wind.
There is no lover like a lonely tree.
There is no friend like a blade
of faithful grass.
There is no light like a solitary beam
from the sun.
There is no poem like an evolving earth
and no Poet like the great Grace
of Silence.

~ from POEMS OF THE SACRED UNKNOWN by Richard W. Bachtold

The wise silence

Within us is the soul of the whole, the wise silence, the universal beauty, the eternal One.

~ by R.W. Emerson

Our service to the world might be simply to keep a place where there is no noise

Since noise is increasing in all directions, the psychology of silence has taken on a special meaning. We are already so adapted to an abundance of screeching sound that we are surprised when stillness suddenly envelops us. Not that this happens very often. We begin to see that the whole question of our relation to the world, both positive and negative, centers in something like silence. So our service to the world might be simply to keep a place where there is no noise, where people can be silent together.


Silence receives too little appreciation

Silence receives too little appreciation, silence being a higher, rarer thing than sound. Silence implies inner riches, and a savouring of impressions. Babies value this too. They lie silent, and one can suppose them asleep but look closer, and with eyes wide open they are sparkling like jewels in the dark. Silence is beyond many of us, and hardly taken into account as one of life's favours. It can be sacred. Its implications are unstatable. It has a superiority that makes the interruption of the spoken word crude, rendering small what was infinite.

~ from THE MEASURE OF MY DAYS by Florida Scott-Maxwell, thanks to Craig Burlington

In the busyness of this day grant me a stillness of seeing

In the busyness of this day
grant me a stillness of seeing, O God.
In the conflicting voices of my heart
grant me a calmness of hearing.
Let my seeing and hearing
my words and my actions
be rooted in a silent certainty of your presence.
Let my passions for life
and the longings for justice that stir within me
be grounded in the experience of your stillness.
Let my life be rooted in the ground of your peace, O God,
let me be rooted in the depths of your peace.

~ from CELTIC BENEDICTION by J. Philip Newell

Can I weave a nest of silence

The phoebe sits on her nest
Hour after hour,
Day after day,
Waiting for life to burst out
From under her warmth.
Can I weave a nest of silence,
weave it of listening,
listening, listening,
Layer upon layer?
But one must first become small,
Nothing but a presence,
Attentive as a nesting bird,
Proffering no slightest wish
Toward anything
that might happen or be given,
Only the warm, faithful waiting,
contained in one’s smallness.
Beyond the question,
the silence.
Before the answer,
the silence.

~ by May Sarton, thanks to Theodora Rendlen

God is the friend of silence

We need to find God, and God cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence.

~ by Mother Teresa, thanks to Felicia Sawyer
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