Silence is something that comes naturally when you are watching, when you are watching without motive, without any kind of demand, just to watch, and see the beauty of a single star in the sky, or to watch a single tree in a field, or to watch your wife or husband, or whatever you watch. To watch with a great silence and space. Then in that watching, in that alertness, there is something that is beyond words, beyond all measure.
Silence was the first prayer I learned to trust.
Words stand between silence and silence: between the silence of things and the silence of our own being. Between the silence of the world and the silence of God. When we have really met and known the world in silence, words do not separate us from the world, nor from other men, nor from God, nor from ourselves because we no longer trust entirely in language to contain reality.
Does not everything depend on our interpretation of the silence around us?
Sometimes I feel that every word spoken and every gesture made merely serve to exacerbate misunderstandings. Then what I would really like is to escape into a great silence and impose that silence on everyone else.
The world is afraid of silence. Radios blare. Televisions are never turned off. The stereo is on at top volume. The voice speaks whether or not it has something to say.
Few people can endure silence for long. They must have some expression outside themselves that corresponds to the unrest of the spirit.
The sole cause of man’s unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room.
What is it that stands higher than words? Action. What is it that stands higher than action? Silence.
He never labored so hard to learn a language as he did to hold his tongue.
Whenever possible I avoid talking. Reprieve from talking is my idea of a holiday. At risk of seeming unsociable, which I am, I admit I love to be left in a beatific trance, when I am in one.
We listen too much to the telephone and we listen too little to nature. The wind is one of my sounds. A lonely sound, perhaps, but soothing. Everybody should have his personal sounds to listen for — sounds that will make him exhilarated and alive, or quiet and calm. . . . As a matter of fact, one of the greatest sounds of them all — and to me it is a sound — is utter, complete silence.
Nowadays silence is looked on as odd and most of my race has forgotten the beauty of meaning much by saying little. Now tongues work all by themselves with no help from the mind.
How much better is silence; the coffee cup, the table. How much better to sit by myself like the solitary sea-bird that opens its wings on the stake. Let me sit here forever with bare things, this coffee cup, this knife, this fork, things in themselves, myself being myself.
There is no need to go to India or anywhere else to find peace. You will find that deep place of silence right in your room, your garden, or even your bathtub.
If we were not so single-minded / about keeping our lives moving, / and for once could do nothing, / perhaps a huge silence / might interrupt this sadness / of never understanding ourselves.
Now I will do nothing but listen.