I recently re-read a very helpful phrase that’s been attributed to many sources — Quaker, Buddhist, or Sufi teachers and even Mark Twain:
DO NOT SPEAK UNLESS YOU CAN IMPROVE UPON THE SILENCE.
Whatever its origins, this is such a gem of wisdom. When I sit with people in a PeerSpirit circle, I do my best to remember that I have two ears and only one mouth as we engage in conversation that’s as attentive, intentional, and conscious as possible. When offering a tarot counselling session, some of the most powerful insights have arrived when I’ve simply allowed a client to spend time with a tarot image without us saying a word about it. Unnecessary verbal filler in either case would be ruinous.
In these times, we’re so accustomed to our empty moments filled with background music, chatter, and perpetual commentary that the soul retreats way into the background. We barely get something out of our mouths than two or three other people are vying for airtime. The voice of the inner teacher, and even the voice of the inner demon, get squashed. We need to hear these. Both of them, along with every other aspect of self, are esteemed members of our personal council, each with something to offer.
We need refreshment. Moments of silence, whether one minute or one week in length, are restorative and allow who we really are to bloom. To listen to Life’s wise whispers in the treetops, in the caress of rock and stream, in the whir of the red-winged blackbird takes us to a state that’s deep and real. Aahh…presence.
Yes, that’s it. Silence and listening equal presence. What a tremendous gift in a whirlabout culture.
From the Wild Unknown Tarot, I drew a card to respond to, “What is silence?” and got Trump II, the High Priestess.
- Silence is the animal self awaiting a vision.
- Silence is the ultimate spiritual practice.
- Silence is a living dream.
- Silence is mystery.
- Silence is going within.
- Silence is non-action.
- Silence is non-linear knowing.
- Silence is the reflection of the night.
- Silence is that which transforms predators into priestesses.
- Silence is the moon gazing at a tiger gazing at a crystal ball.