Saturday, April 21, 2007

Regarding silence

I have included a rather long list of of quotes from various sacred traditions, spiritual paths, and personal philosophies about silence, yet they only scratch the surface of the general theme to which they belong. If you have a problem using "God"-language, feel free to substitute Absolute Nature, Ultimate Reality, Ineffable Source, or whatever floats your boat...

"Be still, and know that I am God"

-Psalm 46:10

"God's poet is silence! His song is unspoken,
And yet so profound, so loud, and so far,
It fills you, it thrills you with measures unbroken,
And as soft, and as fair, and as far as a star."

-Joaquin Miller

"In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in an clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness. Our life is a long and arduous quest after Truth."

-Mahatma Gandhi

"You can hear the footsteps of God when silence reigns in the mind."

"Only in the depth of silence, you can hear the voice of God."

-Sri Sathya Sai Baba

"God is to creation as silence is to sound."

— Mark Woodward

"If anyone else is speaking in the temple of your soul, Jesus will keep still, as if he were not at home. And he is not at home wherever there are strange guests—guests with whom the soul holds conversation, guests who are seeking to bargain. If Jesus is to speak and be heard, the soul must be alone and quiet."

"But the perfect reflection of the One is shining by itself in lonely silence, there safely pent as one and indivisible. The unity (of God) is un-necessitous, it has no need of speech, but subsists alone in unbroken silence. The mind is rid of light when it is rid of mode; and it is rid of darkness when letting go of all natural things, it sinks in nameless actuality. Then it loses both light and darkness in the abyss that a creature in its own right never plumbs. Such is the estrangement in one as foreshadowed in the ordinary mind, but the realization of unity which the blessed have lies in the exquisite consciousness of another than themselves. O unfathomable void, bottomless to creatures and to thine own self, in thy depth art thou exalted in thy impartible, imperishable actuality; in the height of thy essential power thou art so deep thou dost engulf thy simple ground which is there concealed from all that thou are not; yet those whom thou wouldest commune with shall know thee with thyself."

"If I were to say 'God exists,' this would not be true. He is beyond being. He is a no-thing-ness beyond being. This is why St. Augustine says 'The best thing to be said about God is silence.' You must love God as not-God, not-Spirit, not-Sun, not-image, but as He is - sheer, pure absolute Oneness, without any duality."

— Meister Eckhart

"Prayer begins by talking to God, but it ends by listening to Him. In the face of Absolute Truth, silence is the soul’s language."

— Fulton J. Sheen

"Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself, and know that everything in life has purpose."

"There is no need to go to India or anywhere else to find peace. You will find that deep place of silence right in your room, your garden or even your bathtub."

-Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

"The reality that is present to us and in us: call it being…Silence. And the simple fact that by being attentive, by learning to listen (or recovering the natural capacity to listen) we can find ourself engulfed in such happiness that it cannot be explained: the happiness of being at one with everything in that hidden ground of Love for which there can be no explanations…. May we all grow in grace and peace, and not neglect the silence that is printed in the center of our being. It will not fail us."

"Words stand between silence and silence: between the silence of things and the silence of our own being, between the silence of the world and the silence of God. When we have really met and known the world in silence, words do not separate us from the world nor from other men, nor from God, nor from ourselves because we no longer trust entirely in language to contain reality."

— Thomas Merton

"This silence, this moment, every moment, if it's genuinely inside you, brings what you need. There's nothing to believe. Only when I stopped believing in myself did I come into this beauty. Sit quietly, and listen for a voice that will say, 'Be more silent.' Die and be quiet. Quietness is the surest sign that you've died. Your old life was a frantic running from silence. Move outside the tangle of fear-thinking. Live in silence."


"Empty yourself of everything. Let the mind rest at peace. The ten thousand things rise and fall while the Self watches their return. They grow and flourish and then return to the source. Returning to the source is stillness, which is the Way of nature."

-Lao Tsu

"Silence is the language of God;
It is also the language of the heart."

-Dag Hammarskjöld

"There is something beyond our mind which abides in silence within our mind. It is the supreme mystery beyond thought. Let one's mind and one's subtle body rest upon that and not rest on anything else."

-the Maitri Upanishad

"Not merely an absence of noise, Real Silence begins when a reasonable being withdraws from the noise in order to find peace and order in his inner sanctuary."

-Peter Minard

I think this last quote really informs the rest. Yes, physical silence, i.e. sitting still, little or no loud or disruptive sounds, having fewer screaming thoughts running through your mind, etc can be conducive to entering/experiencing the kind of silence being referenced in these quotes, but they are NOT equivalent to the the kind of silence being discussed. If you have experiences with such Silence please feel free to share.

1 comment:

  1. Please add one more saying in the list.

    Quote Only in the depth of silence, you can hear the voice of God......Sri Sathya Sai Baba Unquote


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