Political Demonstrations

Yearning for the Sounds of Silence

During the run up to the presidential election, many of us echoed the refrain: “we’ll be glad when it’s over”.

But it’s not over, not really. Maybe not ever. People are just as divided and opinionated as they were during the campaign, maybe more so. Demonstrators take to the ramparts at the drop of a hat to protest whatever they don’t like, and to trash innocent businesses and to personally attack those who see things differently.

United States Senators in “the world’s greatest deliberative body” are anything but deliberative — in fact, any remaining veneer of civility has been pretty much stripped away in Washington.

This is a confusing state of affairs, which I find very depressing. I know I’m not alone, so allow me to offer two of my favorite quotations from the Trappist monk and writer Thomas Merton.

I hope you enjoy reading and reflecting on Merton’s words. Perhaps you will pass them along to others — maybe it will help, in some small way. I know they help me.

It is not speaking that breaks our silence, but the anxiety to be heard. The words of the proud man impose silence on all others, so that he alone may be heard.

– Thoughts in Solitude

The world of men has forgotten the joys of silence, the peace of solitude which is necessary, to some extent, for the fullness of human living. Not all men are called to be hermits, but all men need enough silence and solitude in their lives to enable the deep inner voice of their own true self to be heard at least occasionally. When that inner voice is not heard, when man cannot attain to the spiritual peace that comes from being perfectly at one with his own true self, his life is always miserable and exhausting.

– The Silent Life