The Silence that Reveals God to the Soul
Commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be silent. (Psalm 4:4)
Be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)
Give ear; withdraw your souls from all that appears but is not truly
real; close these eyes if yours, close your ears, withdraw from
actions that are outwardly seen; and you shall know the reality of
Christ and the whole secret of your salvation. (Acts of Peter)
There is a spirit in the soul, untouched by time and flesh, flowing
from the Spirit, remaining in the Spirit, itself wholly spiritual. In
this principle is God, ever verdant, ever flowering in all joy and
glory of His actual Self. (Meister Eckhart)
In this return in love in the divine ground every divine way and
activity and all the attributes of the persons are swallowed up in
the rich compass of the essential unity. All the divine means and all
conditions, and all living images which are reflected in the mirror
of truth, lapse in the onefold and ineffable waylessness beyond
reason.Here there is nothing but eternal rest in the fruitive embrace
of outpouring love. This is the dark silence in which all lovers lose
themselves. (Jan Van Ruysbroeck)
Evagrios Ponticus, "On Prayer 61," in the Philokalia:
Prayer is the laying aside of thoughts.
St. Isaac the Syrian in the Sebastian Brock translation of Homily 64:
True wisdom is gazing at God. Gazing at God is silence of the
thoughts. Stillness of mind is tranquillity which comes from
John the Solitary in "On Prayer":
For God is silence, and in silence is he sung by means of that
psalmody which is worthy of Him. I am not speaking of the silence of
the tongue, for if someone merely keeps his tongue silent, without
knowing how to sing in mind and spirit, then he is simply unoccupied
and becomes filled with evil thoughts: ... There is a silence of the
tongue, there is a silence of the whole body, there is a silence of
the soul, there is the silence of the mind, and there is the silence
of the spirit.
St. Isaac the Syrian:
We pray with words until the words are cut off and we are left is a
state of wonder.
Evagrios the Solitary, "On Prayer," in the Philokalia:
If, then, you wish to behold and commune with Him who is beyond
sense-perception and beyond concept, you must free yourself from
every impassioned thought.
Persevere with patience in your prayer, and repulse the cares and
doubts that arise within you.
Try to make your intellect deaf and dumb during prayer, you will then
be able to pray.
Dionysius the Areopagite in Mystical Theology, Chapter 1:
In diligent exercise of mystical contemplation, leave behind the
senses and the operations of the intellect, and all things sensible
and intellectual, and all things in the world of being and non-being,
that you may arise by unknowing towards the union, as far as is
attainable, with Him who transcends all being and all knowledge. For
by the unceasing and absolute renunciation of yourself and of all
things you may be borne on high, through pure and entire self-
abnegation, into the superessential Radiance of the Divine Darkness.
Abbot Vasilios of Iveron Monastery in Hymn of Entry, p. 92:
...By receiving a new sense of taste and a new form of knowledge in
"stillness" and in giving himself over to God totally. Be still and
know. Be still: remain in a state of spiritual wakefulness, with your
prospects and your senses open, to hear what God's will is at each
Abbot Vasilios of Iveron Monastery in Hymn of Entry, p. 103:
Those who have been cleansed through following the path of stillness
(hesychis) are counted worthy to see things invisible..., undergoing,
as it were, the way of negation and not forming ideas about it.
(citing Saint Gregory Palamas)