Here’s a lovely meditation on silence by Gunilla Norris. I find it compelling because it names the importance of both personal and shared silence:
by Gunilla Norris
Within each of us there is a silence
—a silence as vast as a universe.
We are afraid of it…and we long for it.
“Shared silence is…a political act,” Norris writes. That may seem like an odd claim, but in my experience it is profoundly true. Shared silence is at the heart of the Quaker tradition, of which I’m a part. For centuries Quakers — though few in number — have been disproportionately represented in movements for peace, truth, and justice that have had political impact.
Norris pinpoints the reason why. Silence “brings us back to basics, to our senses, to ourselves.” In the silence, we have a chance to get re-grounded in fundamental human values, and “the lives of others are touched and influenced” in ways large and small.
I invite you to spend some time meditating on the words above, and — if you don’t already do so — practicing silence alone and with others. I think you will find it revealing and rewarding.
P.S. In my latest book, Healing the Heart of Democracy, there’s a section on silence, solitude, and the practice of “getting the news from within” which resonates with Norris’s meditation.