Silence as an Entryway


I am a morning person, as it is in the early hours of the day when I find it easiest to open to the presence of quietness inside, to the place where I receive nourishment from the invisible. Whether it be meditating, enjoying a new book that stirs my imagination, relaxing in the hot water of our patio jacuzzi, or taking a walk in the mountain trails near our home, it is often silence that becomes an entryway into a timeless heart space and the deep presence of my body.

One of the most helpful realizations I had about myself quite a few years ago was coming into an appreciation that I’m by nature an introvert. While I love being with people, including public speaking and leading intimate workshop experiences with groups, it is when I am alone that I regenerate and fill my batteries. As Susan and the boys know well, if I don’t take the time to receive nourishment through quiet time with myself, I can become remarkably irritable:

“I’ve noticed that when I’m worn out, things have a strange tendency

to go wrong. When I’m rested, my life has a flow to it.

Favorable synchronicities occur. Good things happen.

Many of us restore our inner momentum in quiet.

There is value to thinking through what we find most

restful and relaxing, and building a plan around that.

A spiritual component is probably helpful —

a practice that allows one to touch the sacred.

Serve the sacred in your work,

make quiet contact with the sacred in your downtime.”

~ Roderick W. MacIver

One of my morning rituals is to enjoy reading an entry in Henry David Thoreau’s personal journal, which has been preserved from 1858 when he lived on Walden Pond. Here’s a recent reflection he captured about the power role that silence plays as we give birth to our richest creations when they flow from deep within us:

“The most important events make no stir on their first taking place,

nor indeed in their effects directly. They seem hedged about by secrecy.

It is concussion, or the rushing together of air to fill a vacuum,

which makes a noise. The great events to which all things consent,

and for which they have prepared the way, produce no explosion,

for they are gradual, and create no vacuum which requires to be suddenly filled;

as a birth takes place in silence, and is whispered about the neighborhood.

Corn grows in the night.”

~ Henry David Thoreau

I have also discovered that it is in silence that I often touch into a greater connection with the Spirit that flows through me and directs my life. Whenever I move away from being aware of this inner connection, and I certainly do more often than I’d like, my experience of life becomes superficial and barren. Like the beautiful presence of the lake and mountains in the photo above, this poem captures for me the importance of remembering to regularly open to receive from the source of life:


by Mary Oliver

When the flute players

couldn’t think of what to say next

they laid down their pipes,

then they lay down themselves

beside the river

and just listened.

Some of them, after a while,

jumped up

and disappeared back inside the busy town.

But the rest —

so quiet, not even thoughtful —

are still there,

still listening.

With blessings of Peace all around you, Gavin

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Your Comments

  1. 2009/03/02 at 8:43am

    Thanks for this, Gavin! I particularly enjoyed the Mary Oliver poem. I’m learning to appreciate the introvert side of myself and of Robert, and to take time in the quiet. I appreciate you bringing that forward. Just wish we had a jacuzzi! Valerie

  2. March 2, 2009

    I’m glad you enjoyed it, Valerie. It is certainly a fast-paced world we live in, particularly if we take our hands off the tiller and relinquish the choice to consciously take dominion of our lives. In regards to the jacuzzi, prior to getting one I took long baths for years — reheating the water every 15 minutes or so. I also do most of my reading soaking in hot water — a great synergy! Easy does it, Gavin

  3. Hickenbottom says:

    Great post, thanks for providing so much with your sharing. Keep up the good work, Gavin.

Your Comments