Understanding Silence

Silence: 1) The condition or quality of being or keeping still and silent. 2) The absence of sound; stillness. 3) A period of time without speech or noise. 4) Refusal or failure to speak out.
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language

Silence: The cessation of rage, agitation, or tumilt; calmness; quiest; as, the elements were reduced to silence.
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary

  • Silence is stillness — absence of sound or noise.
  • Silence is avoidance — of trifling conversations.
  • Silence is knowing — the appropriate time to speak.
  • Silence is knowing — the appropriate words to speak.
  • Silence is an opportunity — to stop speaking and begin listening.

Benefits of Silence

  • Silence provides ability — for us to be able to learn because we are focusing on what others around us have to say.
  • Silence provides clarity — a time to be still and listen to our innermost feelings and thoughts.
  • Silence provides an escape — from the disturbances of noise that bombard us from the everyday world.
  • Silence provides time — to think clearly and make sense of what we experience every day.
  • Silence provides a gateway — to where inspiration can be found.

Acts of Silence in Everyday Life

  • The Bible — The only way we can communicate with a Power Greater than ourselves is by silencing the world outside us.
  • Listen — It is the first word of the Rule of St. Benedict; the way to a person's heart.
  • A Moment of Silence — Many major events begin with a moment of silence in which we devote a brief amount of time so we can contact a special place within ourselves in honor of those who have passed.
  • Two ears, but only one mouth — There is a reason for this distribution. It serves us well when we act accordingly.
  • Positive Parenting — Listen more than lecture. We tend to forget what our children have to say is as valuable as what we have to say. Children know they are cared for when they are heard. Be still and listen.

Methods for Achieving Silence

  • Seek Silence — Silence doesn't happen. It must be sought. Set aside a time that is uninterrupted and undisturbed by your outside world. You may choose to just sit, or perhaps write whatever thoughts or words come to mind.
  • Confront Reality — Being silent means coming face to face with ourselves as we truly are. Be courageous in your quest for silence.
  • Meditation — By seeking serenity we connect with inner guidance and direction; we are inspired.
  • Appreciate 'Being' — Develop the habit of seeing worthiness and purpose in the act of being, not only in doing.
  • Learn to let go of Neediness — Sincerity comes from purity of heart and intention, neither of which can occur if you focus on things you want and cannot have.

Golden Mean


Quotes for Silence

Silence is the Mother of Truth.
- Benjamin Disraeli -
It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.
- Mark Twain -
We will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. -

Recommended Reading

Invitation to Solitude and Silence: Experiencing God's Transforming Presence — by Ruth Haley Barton

Ruth Haley Barton takes readers on a powerful spiritual journey in her book that won the 2005 "Christianity Today Book Award," sharing her life's experience about living without silence and solitude and how she found her way back to spirituality through seeking silence.

General Rules

Practice virtues daily so that they become ‘habits of the heart’.

Don‘t strive for perfection.

Never give up! Remember: even the greats have off days.

Rely on your intuition.

Avoid extremes. Strive to achieve the golden mean between excess and deficiency of a virtue.

Have fun and enjoy the program with humor and optimism.

Silence is argument carried out by other means. Che Guevara