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The Magic of  Silence

Murshid Wali Ali Meyer, one of the original students of Murshid Samuel Lewis, said this about the silence at the end of a Dance:

As the sound and music of the dance stop, enter the silence. This is your opportunity to hear what has been created. In this silence one can absorb the qualities evoked during the dance. This is the most important part of the dance. It becomes all-encompassing.

In Dances of Universal Peace, as well as in the everyday Dance of Life, we are invited to discover Divine Peace on our own terms, in our own way, at our own pace.

At first glance, it may seem that silence is empty and useless. But things are not always as they first appear. Indeed, silence can be a profound connection to the Divine.

As Jalaluddin Rumi said:

Why are you so afraid of silence,
silence is the root of everything.
If you spiral into its void,
a hundred voices will thunder messages you long to hear.

Rumi - 'Hidden Music' - Maryam Mafi & Azima Melita Kolin

“Keep silence,” be mute;
     if you have not yet become
         the tongue of God,
              be an ear.

Rumi, Mathnawi, II-3456

Here are a few brief quotes from a variety of papers, articles and talks of Samuel Lewis (the founder of the Dances of Universal Peace) which describe the virtues of silence:

● Silence actually brings one even closer to God

● Silence preserves the magnetism

● There is no doubt that in silence one can do the best work, as all one’s energy and will-power is then concentrated

● The silence of the sage can be a conversation with God.

● All the sounds proceed from the Silence, and so also do all principles proceed from the Universal Peace.

● In an absolute sense, Silence is always the source of perfection.

● The Infinite is expressed through Silence.

● the truth is in silence and not in the languages which are men’s creations.

The mystic Kahlil Gibran wrote:

Silence is painful, but in silence things take form, and we must wait and watch, In us, in our secret depth, lies the knowing element which sees and hears that which we do not see nor hear. All our perceptions, all the things we have done, all that we are today, dwelt once in that knowing, silent depth, that treasure chamber in the soul. And we are more than we think. We are more than we know. That which is more than we think and know is always seeking and adding to itself while we are doing nothing - or think we are doing nothing. But to be conscious of what is going in our depth is to help it along. When subconsciousness becomes consciousness, the seeds in our winter-clad-selves turn to flowers, and the silent life in us sings with all its might.

Kahlil Gibran, Beloved Prophet: the love letters, p268

And here are a few quotes from Hazrat Inayat Khan:

In everyday life we are confronted with a thousand troubles that we are not always evolved enough to meet, and then only silence can help us. For if there is any religion, if there is any practice of religion, it is to have regard for the pleasure of God by regarding the pleasure of man. The essence of religion is to understand. And this religion we cannot live without having power over the word, without having realized the power of silence. There are so very many occasions when we repent after hurting friends, which could have been avoided if there had been control over our words. Silence is the shield of the ignorant and the protection of the wise. For the ignorant does not prove his ignorance if he keeps silent, and the wise man does not throw pearls before swine if he knows the worth of silence.

What gives power over words? What gives the power that can be attained by silence? The answer is: it is will power which gives the control over words; it is silence which gives one the power of silence. It is restlessness when a person speaks too much. The more words are used to express an idea, the less powerful they become. It is a great pity that man so often thinks of saving pennies and never thinks of sparing words. It is like saving pebbles and throwing away pearls. An Indian poet says, 'Pearl-shell, what gives you your precious contents? Silence; for years my lips were closed.'

For a moment it is a struggle with oneself; it is controlling an impulse; but afterwards the same thing becomes a power.

from Volume IV, Mental Purification, Silence


Where is the word of God heard? In silence. The seers, the saints, the sages, the prophets, the masters, they have heard that voice which comes from within by making themselves silent. I do not mean by this that because one has silence one will be spoken to; I mean that once one is silent one will hear the word, which is constantly coming from within. When the mind has been made still, a person also communicates with everyone he meets. He does not need many words: when the glance meets he understands. Two persons may talk and discuss all their lives and yet never understand one another. Two others with still minds look at one another and in one moment a communication is established between them.

Where do the differences between people come from? From within. From their activity. And how does agreement come? By the stillness of the mind. It is noise which hinders a voice that we hear from a distance, and it is the troubled waters of a pool which hinder us seeing our own image reflected in the water. When the water is still it takes a clear reflection; and when our atmosphere is still then we hear that voice which is constantly coming to the heart of every person.

from Volume IV, Mental Purification, Silence


Spiritual knowledge is nothing but this: that there is a constant longing in the heart of man to have something of its origin, to experience something of its original state, the state of peace and joy which has been disturbed, and yet is sought after throughout its whole life, and never can cease to be sought after until the real source has at length been realized. What was it in the wilderness that gave peace and joy? What was it that came to us in the forest, the solitude? In either case it was nothing else but the depth of our own life, which is silent like the depths of the great sea, so silent and still. It is the surface of the sea that makes waves and roaring breakers; the depth is silent. So the depth of our own being is silent also.

And this all-pervading, unbroken, inseparable, unlimited, ever-present, omnipotent silence unites with our silence like the meeting of flames. Something goes out from the depths of our being to receive something from there, which comes to meet us; our eyes cannot see and our ears cannot hear and our mind cannot perceive because it is beyond mind, thought, and comprehension. It is the meeting of the soul and the Spirit.

from Volume VII, In an Eastern Rose Garden, Silence


As Jalaluddin Rumi said some 800 years ago:

   A Great Silence overcomes me,
        and I wonder why I ever thought to use language.


Wishing you love, harmony and beauty,