"The fruit of Silence is prayer.
The fruit of Prayer is faith.
The fruit of Faith is love.
The fruit of Love is service.
The fruit of Service is peace."
These are words of Mother Teresa that I found and kept after returning from Peru. They link in a simple way silence and peace, a bridge I personally crossed only after learning what it really means to abandon a life of noise: too much- without satisfaction; too rushed- with lots of anxiety but little enjoyment; too busy- too much motion without really getting anywhere in particular.
When we allow silence- really take a substantial enough time in our lives to become rooted in the awareness of our solitude, we also experience its counterpoint: connectedness. Some sacred awareness that our culturally and socially-perpetuated ideal of business- constantly moving, striving, proving, gaining- distracts us from our soul-level desire for the exact opposite: stillness.
In silence is our solitude, our opportunity to reconnect to our source and find our center. A true spiritual life means seeing this scaredness everywhere, all the time- not just on a yoga mat or a retreat or a vacation or in a church. It is a constant reality, not just a method, or practice, or belief.
In silence we can birth prayer: a reverence, love, and appreciation for life. On one solitary hike in the woods this past week in Washington, I found myself doing just this, praying in gratitude for the beauty of the world and the beauty of the grace of God I have found to let me most fully appreciate it. A daily walk with God has yielded faith indeed, and, as in any relationship built on trust, patience, joy, and appreciation, love. Living in this kind of relational love, non-attachment is natural, and when we are not possessive of what we have in this life, we are free to serve.
When we truly love one another, we serve one another easily. And it all begins in the desire to seek silence: because the quieter we become, the more we can hear.