RSS Feed

In Silence

Thomas Merton was a Trappist monk known for essays, letters, and writing books. He was an artist and poet, as well.

Sabbath is a retreat from the busyness encountered in daily life. It is less about separation from the world and more about finding bridges linking us with the world and others in the world. The word treat suggests healing and making whole.

We seek bridges allowing us to let go of baggage we carry and skeletons we dance with. Parker Palmer used Thomas Merton’s writing explaining the need for peace, solitude, and silence in life. This is not a withdrawal, but a different way of encountering the world and hearing the words it speaks more clearly.

Part of Taoism is seeking principled paths and ways forward. Parker Palmer and Thomas Merton drew on this thinking in expressing a need for silence in life otherwise the noise of daily life is deafening.

Be still.
Listen to the stones of the wall.
Be silent, they try
to speak your

to the living walls.

Who are you?
are you? Whose
silence are you?

Who (be quiet)
are you (as these stones
are quiet). Do not
think of what you are
still less of
what you may one day be.

be what you are (but who?)
be the unthinkable one
you do not know.

O be still, while
you are still alive,
and all things live around you

speaking (I do not hear)
to your own being,
speaking by the unknown
that is in you and in themselves.

“I will try, like them
to be my own silence:
and this is difficult. The whole
world is secretly on fire. The stones
burn, even the stones they burn me.
How can a man be still or
listen to all things burning?
How can he dare to sit with them
when all their silence is on fire?”

About ivonprefontaine

I completed a PhD at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA. Previously, I taught for 20 years and taught for 15 years in a wonderful hybrid school. My dissertation topic and research were how certain teachers experience becoming who teachers. In teaching and leanring, I am a boundary-crosser who understands moving ahead is a leap of faith. Teaching is a calling and vocation to express who I am as a person. Currently, I am waiting and listening to what calls me next. I am an educator, phenomenologist, scholar, boundary-crosser, published poet, author, parent, grandparent, and spouse.

19 responses »

  1. Wonderful post, Ivon. There is so much to hear in the silence. Why anyone would avoid it when it can be so rich is so very sad. So poignant, this statement, “We seek bridges allowing us to let go of baggage we carry and skeletons we dance with.” Thank you.

  2. dancing flame
    with many
    around the fire

  3. Yes, it is about calming the chatter of the mind so we can hear the message of the small still voice. Have a lovely Sabbath, Ivon! xoM

  4. Parker Palmer sounds like my kind of man.
    I couldn’t live without the ‘sound of silence’. Sometimes even the chatter of friends and family interrupt my thoughts and while I love to see them, I also love the time when they’re absent and all is quiet.

  5. Love Merton. Collect quotes and read passages of his often.

  6. Thank you! I bought a book by TM a few months back, but have not really looked at it yet. Everything happens when it is supposed to….you just reminded me to take another look! Have a super Sunday!

  7. The last part of “how can…” is so true and so sad…. Thank you, Ivon.

  8. Merton is worth reading, again and again. Always makes me think.
    Thanks for this.

  9. Pingback: maybe comments_29 | Geo Sans

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: