Daily Riches: Silence More Powerful than Words (Parker Palmer and Rachel Remen)

“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”
James 1:19

 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.”



Daily Riches: Radically Trusting God, Truly Helping Others (Nikos Kazantzakis, Parker Palmer)

“I remember one morning when I discovered a cocoon in the bark of a tree just as a butterfly was making a hole in its case and preparing to come out. I waited awhile, but it was too long appearing and I was impatient. I bent over it and breathed on it to warm it. I warmed it as quickly as I could and the miracle began to happen before my eyes, faster than life. The case opened; the butterfly started slowly crawling out, and I shall never forget my horror when I saw how its wings were foldedhatching back and crumpled; the wretched butterfly tried with its whole trembling body to unfold them. Bending over it, I tried to help it with my breath, in vain. It needed to be hatched out patiently and the unfolding of the wings should be a gradual process in the sun. Now it was too late. My breath had forced the butterfly to appear all crumpled, before its time. It struggled desperately and, a few seconds later, died in the palm of my hand. That little body is, I do believe, the greatest weight I have on my conscience. For I realize today that it is a mortal sin to violate the great laws of nature. We should not hurry, we should not be impatient, but we should confidently obey the external rhythm.”  Nikos Kazantzakis
“…most people can and must come to life in their own way and time, and if we try to help them by hastening the process, we end up doing harm. …[but] when we understand that our efforts to help other people can be unhelpful, or worse, we may start to avert our eyes from their struggles and pains, not knowing what to do and embarrassed by our own ineptitude. … [but] Instead of fixing up, or letting down, people who have a problem, we [can] stand with simple attentiveness at the borders of their solitude – trusting that they have within themselves whatever resources they need and that our attentiveness can help bring those resources into play. …We stay present to each other without wavering, while stifling any impulse to fix each other up. We offer each other support in going where each needs to go, and learning what each needs to learn, at each one’s pace….” Parker Palmer
Everyone should be … slow to speak”
James 1:19

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Can you resist the urge to “fix” someone in need?
  • Can you simply be “present” to them in love rather than averting your eyes?
  • Will you trust them to do for themselves what only they can do, and God to do for them what only God can do – and will do in God’s time?

Abba, help.

For More: A Hidden Wholeness by Parker Palmer


These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)