“Only by going alone in silence, without baggage, can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness. All other travel is mere dust and hotels and baggage and chatter,” John Muir
Freedom from noise and goal-directed tasks, it appears, unites the quiet without and within, allowing our conscious workspace to do its thing, to weave ourselves into the world, to discover where we fit in. That’s the power of silence.
“There are some strange summer mornings in the country, when he who is but a sojourner from the city shall early walk forth into the fields, and be wonder-smitten with the trance-like aspect of the green and golden world. Not a flower stirs; the trees forget to wave; the grass itself sems to have ceased to grow; and all Nature, as is suddenly become conscious of her own profound mystery, and feeling no refuge from it but silence, sinks into this wonderful and indescribable repose.” –Herman Melville, from Pierre, Or The Ambiguities
We live in succession, in division, in parts, in particles. Meantime within man is the soul of the whole; the wise silence; the universal beauty, to which every part and particle is equally related, the eternal ONE. And this deep power in which we exist and whose beatitude is all accessible to us, is not only self-sufficing and perfect in every hour, but the act of seeing and the thing seen, the seer and the spectacle, the subject and the object, are one. We see the world piece by piece, as the sun, the moon, the animal, the tree; but the whole, of which these are shining parts, is the soul.
– The Over-Soul, Ralph Waldo Emerson
In four decades as a performance artist, Marina Abramovic has had a stranger point a loaded gun at her head, sat in silence for 700 hours and set herself on fire. Now, as she prepares for a new show in which she enacts her own funeral, the 63-year-old reveals why “Freud would have had a field day” with her.
“Silence is a source of great strength.
– Lao Tzu