Silence is never merely the cessation of words. . . . Rather it is the pause that holds together — indeed, it makes sense of — all the words, both spoken and unspoken. Silence is the glue that connects our attitudes and our actions. Silence is the fullness, not emptiness; it is not absence, but the awareness of a presence.
— John Chryssavgis from In the Heart of the Desert: The Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers (Treasures of the World’s Religions)
. . . to deliver oneself up, to hand oneself over, entrust one- self completely to the silence of a wide landscape of woods and hills, or sea, or desert; to sit still while the sun comes up over that land and fills its silences with light. To pray and work in the morning and to labour and rest in the afternoon, and to sit still again in meditation in the evening when night falls upon that land and when the silence fills itself with darkness and with stars. This is a true and special vocation. There are a few who are willing to belong completely to such silence, to let it soak into their bones, to breathe nothing but silence, to feed on silence, and to turn to the very substance of their life into a living and vigilant silence.
— Thomas Merton from Thoughts In Solitude
Meister Eckhart described silence as “the purest element of the soul, the soul’s most exalted place, the core, the essence of the soul.” This is the inner monastery within each of our hearts, a place of absolute stillness, our soul’s deep essence. I echo Merton’s invitations here: Let yourself belong to silence, let silence soak into your bones, nourish you, be the air you breathe. A commitment to silence is at the heart of nurturing a contemplative practice and creative life. In silence you will discover the Great Artist from whom you emerged; you will sense the pulse of creative energy through your being so that you slowly grow to recognize that creating is your birth-right, and that you join your work with this ultimate work. But the call is nourished by the silence. We continue to return to this open space to remember who we are.
— Christine Valters Paintner from The Artist’s Rule: Nurturing Your Creative Soul with Monastic Wisdom