If you’re alive, you got to flap your arms and legs, you got to jump around a lot, you got to make a lot of noise, because life is the very opposite of death. And therefore, as I see it, if you’re quiet, you’re not living.
Being human cannot be borne alone. We need other presences. We need soft night noises — a mother speaking downstairs. . . . We need the little clicks and sighs of a sustaining otherness. We need the gods.
We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature — trees, flowers, grass — grows in silence; see the stars, the moon, and the sun, how they move in silence.
Accustomed to the veneer of noise, to the shibboleths of promotion, public relations, and market research, society is suspicious of those who value silence.
There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks. Most of the time we are simply not patient enough, quiet enough, to pay attention to the story.
Man is a great blunderer going about in the woods, and there is no other except the bear [who] makes so much noise.
Just be quiet and sit down. / The reason is you are drunk, / and this is the edge of the roof.
Why do monks live in seclusion? That is asking why does a scientist work in a laboratory, or why does a sailor go on a ship or why does a duck swim in water. Why does a man go to his bedroom and get in bed when he wants to go to sleep? Why doesn’t he lie down in the middle of the street? A monk seeks silence and solitude because there his mind and heart can relax and expand and attain to a new perspective: there too he can hear the Word of God. . . . An apt saying of the Muslim Sufis comes to mind here: “The hen does not lay eggs in the marketplace.”
Try to pay more attention to the silence than to the sounds. . . . Every sound is born out of silence, dies back into silence, and during its life span is surrounded by silence. . . . It is an intrinsic but unmanifested part of every sound, every musical note, every song, and every word.
Silence is not a thing we make; it is something into which we enter. It is always there. . . . All we can make is noise.
The silence depressed me. It wasn’t the silence of silence. It was my own silence.
One must learn to be silent just as one must learn to talk.
Cultivate quietness in your speech, in your thoughts, in your emotions. Speak habitually low. Wait for attention and then your low words will be charged with dynamite.
Ask me about my vow of silence.
Among the sages whom [Ralph Waldo] Emerson sought out on his visit to Europe was the notoriously reticent and difficult Thomas Carlyle. He called on Carlyle one evening and was given a pipe, while his host took one himself. They sat together smoking in perfect silence until bedtime, and on parting shook hands most cordially, congratulating each other on the fruitful time they had enjoyed together.
Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving us wordy evidence of the fact.
Do not the most moving moments of our lives find us all without words?
God’s first language is silence. Everything else is a translation.
I don’t have to tell you it goes without saying there are some things better left unsaid. I think that speaks for itself. The less said about it, the better.