“The lover of silence draws close to God. He talks to God in secret and God enlightens him.” In The Ladder of Divine Ascent, sixth-century monk and solitary John Climacus tells us what we’ve all suspected anyway: In a society bursting with noise and activity, silence and stillness is where it’s really happening.
Silence isn’t an exotic destination. To get there, we just have to close the door, turn things off, and sit still. And then “intelligent silence” will teach us many things, Climacus promises. He praises silence as the mother of prayer, the liberator from constraint, the friend of tears, the foe of false freedoms, the opponent of dogmatism, and the hidden progress of the soul. We may long for these things, and yet—we flee from the threatening, thundering quiet. The truth is we crave distraction, which keeps us from confronting the abyss of the self.
Because if we stop talking—muting both the inner and the outer chatter—what then? Those who cease to talk are in danger of listening; wisdom has the chance to speak. The love of God does its work in the depths of the silent soul, mystic Faustina Kowalska acknowledged. Even social philosopher Matthew Crawford admits that “one consumes a great deal of silence in the course of becoming educated.” We might consider that, in the course of becoming dulled and programmed, one consumes no silence at all.
Dare to escape your programming. Risk liberty. Discover silence. Dive deep, and listen.
reprinted with permission from TrueQuest Communications