At the end of the play, Hamlet’s last words are ‘The rest is silence.’ Words can convey so much, but not everyone has the ability to articulate their feelings. As Robert Frost once said, ‘If I write a poem about heart-ache or heart-break, and a reader says, “That is exactly what I feel but I couldn’t have put it into words,” then I know I have achieved what I set out to do.’ Again to quote Shakespeare: ‘I were but little happy if I could say how much.’ Which is why silence between close friends is such a gift, just as silence is at the heart of the spiritual journey.


4 thoughts on “Silence”

  1. Yes, James, being in Silence, ‘the Silence’ perhaps, is my deep place, place of belonging, way of making sense of everything else. The meditations in your book Finding Silence, along with Robert Sardello’s book on silence, are a constant inspiration to me for being present to life. I thank you for that every day. However, I’m just reading church historian and theologian Diarmaid MacCulloch’s survey of Silence in the Christian church, whose history as he argues goes back a thousand years before Christ. Silence, he shows, took hold with the growing Hellenizing of the Judeo tradition that early christianity was. Worship in the temple was noisy and cacophonous. Awe and reverence was in the mad noise. Ha! In fact, silence was suspect. Anyone praying silently to oneself was considered to have something to hide from the community, something bad going on. Ha! It took some time for the Greek notion of silence to take hold in the emerging Christian faith. The most complex thing in the universe, more complex than black holes and quantum time shifts, is the brain inside our head. And each of us has a different brain, and so perception -noise, silence- perception which is just in our head means the world is seen or perceived in so many different ways, as many ways as there are people. Eyes are not portals looking out on the world but receptors taking in sensation which is interpreted by our unique mind into something, an interpretation, each’s little interpretations floating about, effervescently, uniquely, just in our mind. Again, to quote Mr. Shakespeare, ‘we are such stuff as dreams are made of’ and then ‘our little lives are rounded with a sleep’ [silence], in the end of it all, Silence, and I believe you to say James, Silence is not no sound, in faith then, the silent end is not no sound. In the end, for all our different ways of seeing, we are, as you teach, we are one. How lovely is that for us, in the end of it all, even now, to be the Silence, to be that Silence. In joy, I shout it from the rooftops.

  2. Sharing the silence, alone or with others, is a community, filled with thankfulness, healing and creativity. Thanks James for the reminder. Perhaps it enables us to communicate with our lives in better ways.
    Love Diana

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.