Friday, July 22, 2011

On Silence and Solitude

I can never get enough of either. I feel healed when I have large quantities of both--I feel cleansed and centered and alive again.

Here are quotes from Terry Tempest Williams I posted almost exactly three years ago. Someone linked to it, and I rediscovered them. These are ideas I hope to address in my next memoir.

from Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place:

“It [silence / solitude] is what sustains me and protects me from my mind. It renders me fully present. I am desert. I am mountains. I am Great Salt Lake. There are other languages being spoken by wind, water, and wings. There are other lives to consider: avocets, stilts, and stones. Peace is the perspective found in patterns…. We are no more and no less than the life that surrounds us. My fears surface in my isolation. My serenity surfaces in my solitude.”

Quoted from the Indian teachings of Samkhya: “If you consciously hold within yourself three quarters of your power and use only one quarter to respond to any communication coming from others, you can stop the automatic, immediate and thoughtless movement outwards, which leaves you with a feeling of emptiness, of having been consumed by life. This stopping of the movement outwards is not self defense, but rather an effort to have the response come from within, from the deepest part of one’s being.”

“We usually recognize a beginning. Endings are more difficult to detect. Most often, they are realized only after reflection. Silence. We are seldom conscious when silence begins—it is only afterward that we realize what we have been a part of. In the night journeys of Canada geese, it is the silence that propels them."

Thomas Merton writes, “Silence is the strength of our interior life….If we fill our lives with silence, then we will live in hope.”


Indoor Fountains said...

Agreed. Meditation is the quickest way I get in the space to create and live at my fullest potential.

Benjamin Vogt said...

And not just meditation--that makes it sound like a compartemnetalized activity, like eating, sleeping, or pooping. For me, what Williams is talking about is a constant state of being, where every activity is a component of meditation. This is why I so often rub people the wrong way, or seem melancholic--I'm constantly seeking and cultivating focus and silence, but especially while writing, reading, and gardening.

greggo said...

Silence is a lost "art".

Thanks for commenting on the few butterflies post. I see you are going through the same withdrawals as many of us: small numbers of butterflies. Our garden is also full of blooms and larva food, the most ever. Maybe we will have a better fall.

Haven't seen a Monarch since early June. The Liatris is blooming, maybe just maybe.

Benjamin Vogt said...

G--Yesterday I saw one monarch only, twice, on the liatris. Also had a black swallowtail and tiger floating about. And smaller folks as well, but few. Lots of honey and bumble bees and wasps. I fear the most numbers any of us will see will be in late August to late September.

Diana Studer said...

(Sorry still a bit Luddite on FB. LinkedIn tells me that Anne found me via you, or Edith or Charlotte)

Diana Studer said...

BTW Lost in the landscape has a post up - you can't hear the forest for the trees!