What do Holy Scriptures say about silence, solitude and listening?
Where in Scripture speaks
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed, “Everyone is looking for you!”
Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else-to the nearby villages- so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” So, he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.
We find Jesus in the solitude in the temple of our hearts. We follow the example of his apostles who sought him and found him in a solitary place. They followed his example and discovered how to look for him. He will preach to our hearts and drive out our demons, if only we listen in the silence for his voice.
“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”
Jesus invites us to sit with God in solitude and silence so we can hear his voice, which is our reward. He will provide what we need in that moment. By cultivating silence, we learn to become faithful and obedient and not give into the temptation to put ourselves and what the world says before God.
The apostles gathered around Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest awhile.”
Jesus went away by himself many times to be still and listen for God. And he invites us to do the same.
Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth.
Our intention during silence and stillness is to focus on God and put God first. Our agenda and our thoughts are secondary.
But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.
Among all the secrets, I am the Silence.
This ancient Hindu scripture is teaching that Silence is the language of God. Perfect prayer does not consist of many words but listening gives access to the universal truth of God’s love.
The Buddha was asked:
What have you gained from meditation? He replied, “Nothing!” However, Buddha said, “Let me tell you what I’ve lost: Anger, Anxiety, Depression, Insecurity, Fear of Old Age and Death.”
Silence is the cure for noise, because in silence you come back to the source, and that creates joy.
Sufi mystic Rumi:
“Keep silence, be mute. If you have not yet become the Tongue of God.
Be an Ear!”