We are each surrounded by an enormous silence that can be a blessing and a help to us, a silence in which the skein of reality is knitted and unraveled to be knit again, in which the perspective of work can be enlarged and enriched. Silence is like a cradle holding our endeavors and our will; a silent spaciousness sustains us in our work and at the same time connects us to larger worlds that, in the busyness of our daily struggle to achieve, we have not yet investigated. Silence is the soul's break for freedom.
I live in the woods out of necessity. I get out of bed in the middle of the night because it is imperative that I hear the silence of the night, aloud, and with my face on the floor, say psalms, alone, in the silence of the night... The silence of the forest is my bride and the sweet dark warmth of the whole world is my love and out of the heart of that dark warmth comes the secret that is heard only in the silence...
~ from DANCING IN THE WATER OF LIFE by Thomas Merton, thanks to Gary O’Guinn
True experience always comes about in withdrawal "from the crowd." The original, true and proper attitude of the mind is, as Heraclites says, that of "listening to the truth of things..." Our journey into the territory of being should be made in silence, with wondering, wide-open eyes. The fullness of truth and reality is revealed only to those who attain to a silence which covers every aspect of their beings, or who, in other words make their basic attitude toward the whole of being one of delicate and reserved courtesy... For anyone who wishes to hear what is true and real, every voice must for once be still. Silence, however, is not merely the absence of speech. It is not something negative; it is "something" in itself. It is a depth, a fullness, a peaceful flow of hidden life. Everything true and great grows in silence. Without silence we fall short of reality and cannot plumb the depths of being.
Silence foreshadows and houses that fertile consciousness of Being (the unitive state) within all of us. Progressively, silence calls us into this awareness, until at some point we live in it, or realize it lives us. Then, each leaf, flower or bud reminds us of that Heart or Reality or Void in which we all have our life and being.
You have traveled too fast over false ground; Now your soul has come to take you back. Take refuge in your senses, open up To all the small miracles you rushed through. Become inclined to watch the way of rain When it falls slow and free. Imitate the habit of twilight, Taking time to open the well of color That fostered the brightness of day. Draw alongside the silence of stone Until its calmness can claim you.
~ from TO BLESS THE SPACE BETWEEN US by John O'Donohue
I will come to you in the silence, I will lift you from all your fear. You will hear my voice, I claim you as my choice, be still and know I am here. I am hope for all who are hopeless, I am eyes for all who long to see. In the shadows of the night I will be your light, come and rest in me.
~ from "You Are Mine," Sheet Music by David Haas, arr. by Mark Hayes, Hope Publishing Company
Those who neglect silence bring only a distracted heart and a preoccupied mind to their prayer and, instead of deriving new strength from it, they only offer God a heart full of trifles. Intimate conversation with God is easily stifled if you do not first put an end to exterior chatter; yet, if you love silence and keep it well, your heart will be a temple where God will dwell and become known to you there.
~ St. Julia Billiart in WOMEN OF VISION compiled by Dorothy M. Stewart, thanks to Nancy Bock
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