Learning to Listen: Silence

An unknown writer shared this about the power that silence and solitude can have within spiritual life:

“There is exterior silence and interior silence. The monastery is, or should be, a place of at least relative silence in the sense of the absence of unnecessary noise and agitated movement. We are less assaulted by harsh sounds; rather we are soothed by the mostly harmonious sounds of nature, and bells and our Gregorian chant. This pacifies our sensibility and refines it. A heightened awareness is a common experience in solitude and affects all the senses, for they are all linked together.

In silence we are more vividly aware of colour, and perfume and touch, because we are more present to ourselves. And little by little, we become attuned to the breathing spaces of silence between the sounds, as it were, like an underlying melody, not exactly ‘heard’, and yet somehow perceived, something that can take the character of a presence.

Silence begets an attitude of listening. The artist, the philosopher, the praying person may perceive or, at least, express in different words diverse aspects of this reality, but all have need of silence, receptivity, and awareness.”

Unnecessary noise and agitated movement… if only this stuff were relevant to “here and now”, eh?!

Becoming attuned to the “breathing spaces of silence between the sounds”… LOVE that phrase. I’ve heard that the difference between surviving or perishing in a pile of rubble (earthquake or whatever) is often whether a victim has access to a “breathing space” or not. Not hard to run with that illustration, is it?

Receptivity and awareness… I always need more of both. Might some silent solitude be in order?

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