Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sayings on Silence

Hesychia, Blessed Silence 
This icon is Hesychia, Blessed Silence, an angel that represents Christ with the qualities of Sophia, Holy Wisdom . It speaks to that interior movement of the mind into heart where we meet God in the deepest form of prayer. This is the place where Christ tells us to “Go into your room, shut the door and pray…” (Matthew 6:6)

Since silence is such a foundational value to our life of prayer, we had several community meetings at Redwoods to discuss our monastic practice of it. The following are some sayings taken from our discussions:

  • The practice of silence is not to be restrictive but expansive of God’s life within our hearts and within the heart of community
  • To keep silent …. In order to stay in touch with God and the ways which He calls forth an ever deepening communion
  • In silence and simplicity we live at the center of our call to be authentic witnesses of the Cistercian monastic life.
  • Silence is needed for listening to both: outer messages as well as to the deep inner ones.
  • Silence – stillness – inwardly and outwardly restores the balance or harmony in oneself.
  • Silence is an ingredient for prayer and meditation, human attentiveness and relatedness.
  • Simplicity is the absence of things that gives the fullness of beauty
  • We can try to create an atmosphere that is conducive to interiority, but it is mostly Grace and gift
  • Mindfulness – returning to God from thoughts, distractions to the center again and again…
  • I need to work on being in the present moment, watching my thoughts and motivations and importuning God’s grace when I am caught in irritations, judgments and reactions.
  • Do whatever work with the intention (manual labor) that it will glorify God
  • This value of silence gives us authentic simplicity.  With the manifestation of interiority tour monastic rhythm is held in the groundedness of the Cross that frees us, little by little.

If you are interested in a good book on the practice of contemplative silence in the Christian tradition,  Martin Laird, Into the Silent Land, Oxford University Press, 2006