“Life is not to be regarded as an uninterrupted flow of words which is finally silenced by death. Its rhythm develops in silence, comes to the surface in moments of necessary expression, returns to deeper silence, culminates in a final declaration, then ascends quietly into the silence of Heaven which resounds with unending praise.
“Silence has many dimensions. It can be a regression and an escape, a loss of self, or it can be presence, awareness, unification, self-discovery. Negative silence blurs and confuses our identity, and we lapse into daydreams or diffuse anxieties. Positive silence pulls us together and makes us realize who we are, who we might be, and the distance between these two. …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. …It is in deep solitude and silence that I find the gentleness with which I can truly love my brother and sister.
“If nothing that can be seen can either be God or represent Him to us as He is, then to find God we must pass beyond everything that can be seen and enter into darkness. Since nothing that can be heard is God, to find Him we must enter into silence.” Thomas Merton
“A mind enclosed in language is in prison.” Simone Weil
“May the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to you,
O Yahweh, my rock and my redeemer.”
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Is life as you live it “an uninterrupted flow of words?” If so, what does that say about you?
- Have you experienced the love for others that can be discovered in “deep solitude and silence?”
- Do you “trust entirely in language to contain reality?” Do you ever feel “imprisoned” by the limits of words?
- Has time spend in silence shown you “who you are, who you might be, and the distance between these two?”
Abba, teach me a healthy rhythm that includes speech and silence, but may I know the world in silence.
For More: Thomas Merton: Essential Writings edited by Christine Bochen
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. 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.”