“We can be silent at people, as when we give someone ‘the silent treatment’ to convey our disdain, or keep a cowardly silence in the face of great wrongs. Silences of this sort destroy community, and may make us co-conspirators with injustice or flat-out evil. Or we can be silent with people, as in the kind of silence that surrounds reflection and reverence. Silences of this sort are a form of human communion that allow us to connect with each other at depths we can’t reach with words. [In her book My Grandfather’s Blessings, Rachel Remen tells a story from a conference on Jungian dream analysis where] … participants were asked to take a card and write about a dream. ….
One of these cards told the story of a horrific recurring dream, in which the dreamer was stripped of all human dignity and worth through Nazi atrocities. A member of the panel read the dream out loud. As she listened, my colleague began to formulate a dream interpretation in her head…. It was really a ‘no-brainer,’ she thought, as her mind busily offered her symbolic explanations for the torture and atrocities described in the dream. But this was not how the panel responded at all. When the reading of the dream was complete, Jung’s grandson looked out over the large audience. ‘Would you all please rise?’ he asked. ‘We will stand together in a moment of silence in response to this dream.’ The audience stood for a minute, my colleague impatiently waiting for the discussion she was certain would follow. But when they sat again, the panel went on to the next question. My colleague simply did not understand this at all, and a few days later she asked one of her teachers, himself a Jungian analyst, about it. ‘Ah, Lois,’ he had said, ‘there is in life a suffering so unspeakable, a vulnerability so extreme that it goes far beyond words, beyond explanations and even beyond healing. In the face of such suffering all we can do is bear witness so no one need suffer alone.” Parker Palmer
“Everyone should be … slow to speak”
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Have you experienced the power of silence?
- Are you learning when to be silent?
- Have you ever sensed that your words hindered God’s work?
Abba, teach me a silence filled with wisdom, love and power.
For More: A Hidden Wholeness by Parker Palmer_________________________________________________
“Daily Riches” is for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. I hope you’ll follow and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)
“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”