The Silent Retreat
Four monks decided to meditate silently without speaking for two weeks.
They began with enthusiasm and no one said a word the whole day.
By nightfall of the first day, the candle began to flicker and then went out.
The first monk blurted out, “Oh, no! The candle is out.”
The second monk said, “Hey! We are not supposed to speak!”
The third monk said in an irritated voice, “What is this? Why did you two break the silence?”
The fourth monk smiled and said, “Wow! I’m the only one who hasn’t spoken.”
Each monk broke the silence for a different reason, each of which is a common stumbling block in our inner journey: distraction, judgement, anger and pride.
The first monk got distracted by one aspect of his experience (the candle) and forgot what was more important – the practice of witnessing without reacting.
The second monk was more worried about others following the rules than in actually practising himself. He was quick to judge without noticing that he himself was guilty of what he was criticizing.
The third monk let his anger towards the first two monks affect him.
The singular burst of anger ruined the effort of the day.
The fourth monk lost his way because of pride. He was convinced he was superior to the others, proving his ignorance.
Why did the fourth monk speak at all? He could have simply maintained his silence and he would have been successful in his endeavour.
But if he had, chances are, the other three might have continued to argue and not even noticed his silence. Some people are like this.
Their motto is “If I am doing something good, but no one notices, I might as well not be doing it at all.” They believe that the reward is not in the effort, but in the recognition.
There is a beautiful quote, “It is the province of knowledge to speak; it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.”
As we learn to truly listen, witness and observe without impulsively reacting with distraction, judgement, anger and pride, then we understand the true meaning of silence.
The Wisdom of Silence
Silence has the strength of spaces in sublime consciousness…
Silence shows the way of patience
Silence activates our guiding spirit
Silence powers the strength of intuition
Silence moves towards deep contemplation
Silence evolves the spirit of understanding
Silence graces atmosphere with quietude
Silence defends without a word
Silence strengthens the soul.
Silence can be a knowing of the peace within .
Silence is painful in its struggles and valuable in itself. Silence is in utter desperation, deep contemplation with phases of meditative connectedness. Silence is never thoughtless or mindless.
Silence dwells in the spaces between the steps to access whenever. Silence leads and the path appears.
Trust the lessons learned in silence.