On Silence, Spirituality and Diversity

January 19, 2018

“At the center of all life is a silent, transcendent still point. It is a point of light around which all things form and are given life. This still point is the presence of Divinity within Creation. It the formlessness around which forms emerge. It is the basis of ineffable peace, love, wisdom and joy. It belongs to no one religion, spirituality or path. It is within us as our inherent nature. It is our birthright. All mystics know this point and live from its fullness….”

-- Stillpoint Retreats (http://www.stillpointretreats.com)

The practice of listening to silence helps me navigate the passages of life when the sounds inside and outside of me are discordant, jarring or unpleasant.

During those times, my practice allows me to hear those noises dispassionately. I experience them like a passing storm, which eventually gives way to a kind of calm. As the storm passes, I realize that silence has patiently taught me that it the mother of all sound. If I listen for it, I can find peace.

Maintaining silence in social settings is a more complex matter.

Sometimes it’s good practice and sometimes it isn’t.

It’s good practice, for example, when people are arguing about something I know nothing about. Talking just adds to the discord.

it bad practice (usually), to stay silent when I’m witnessing what looks like an injustice. In that instance, the responsible thing might be for me to speak up.

Cultivating a practice of silence in an odd way seems to make words more powerful.

That’s likely because the practice involves deep listening.

Listening intently involves taking the other’s words in. And allows the right words to emerge at the right time and place.

In this regard, the practice of silence is helpful for not only maintaining spiritual equanimity but also for navigating what is perhaps the biggest diversity issue of our times: helping us truly listen to one another, especially those who don’t look or think they way we do.

-- Angelo John Lewis

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