January 28, 2009
Today is one of those slow days. Is it the extreme coldness outside ? It is -5°C and a North wind just freezes everything. Nothing seems to move apart from an occasional crow gliding over the forest or small birds dashing from the roof to the nearest tree in the garden. The house is quiet too, everyone went off early, and I have been left with a rare and precious gift : silence.
It is not as if I did not like sounds, the usual music of life but sometimes it just seems too noisy to me. Radio, TV, telephone, cell phones, works on the road or on a building site… When you stop for a while and really listen, can you hear silence around you ? I am lucky because often I can and today is one of those days, wrapped like a present. I can hear myself think and it is a beautiful inner feeling.
I would like to share with you some quotes and thoughts I read every day in a little brochure called “The Monastic Way”. Most of them are from Joan Chittister. This month it is all about “silence”.Silence frees us to be ourselves again. It gives us the opportunity to hear out what we ourselves really think about anything. It saves us from having to borrow our opinions.
Silence is the ground for a good relationship. When we listen to the other, we get to know them and they get to love us. It is silence that brings us into intimacy both with others and with God.
“Silence writes Edith Wharton, may be as variously shaded as speech”. Some silence is hard and bitter. Some silence is soft and pliant. Some silence is thoughtful and searching. Some silence is calm and receptive. Some silence is cowardly and weak, Each of them has a purpose and an end. Choose wisely.
Sydney Smith says “He had occasional flashes of silence that made his conversation perfectly delightful.”
Silence requires us to attend to the turmoil within us. It refuses to allow us to ignore our own greatest questions in life.Silence is not a sign of the death of us. It is the sign that something else is growing in us which, if we nurture it, will finally express itself as a finer edition of ourselves.
The world is not waiting for more noise from us. It is waiting for us to say the truths that can only be born of Silence.
There is no virtue in keeping Silence in the face of injustice. Carol Rittner, RSM writes, “Silence always helps those who cause the suffering, never the victim”.
Alice Walker writes “No person is your friend who demands your Silence or denies your right to grow”.
Constant activity does no more than inactivity. There are some things in life that can’t be forced and can’t be heard in the midst of noise. “Sitting still”, the Zen master teaches, doing nothing. Spring comes and the grass grows by itself”.I know many of us live busy, noisy days, we cannot always avoid it. But I wish everyone would receive this wonderful gift of Silence or/and find in your heart your own silence.