About

According to many religions, stillness and emptiness are the fundamental qualities that underlie all of existence. If life is all about movement, then it is also all about stillness, for the one cannot exist without the other. Prophets, saints, sages, and so forth throughout time have touted the benefits of silence. In silence comes clarity of mind and stillness. We cannot listen to the deeper parts of our mind if the surface level chatter never stops, and we cannot actually listen if we are constantly speaking. When you go into the forest or mountains and experience silence, the energy that normally is wasted due to the chatter of the mind is used with laser-like focus to provide insights and extract from the infinite knowledge repository that is our mind. Using language sparingly allows us to receive what is outside in a purer and less filtered state.

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Quotations

The Hebrew Bible
Jewish scripture
Judaism

“Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.”

Sefer Ha-Aggadah
Collection of Jewish writings
Judaism

“R. Simeon ben Gamaliel said: I spent all my life among sages and found nothing better for a person than silence. He who talks too much brings on sin.”

The Hebrew Bible
Jewish scripture
Judaism

“Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down.”

The Qur'an
Islamic scripture
Islam

“Those who have faith and whose hearts find peace in the remembrance of God—truly it is in the remembrance of God that hearts find peace.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá
Baha'i leader
Baha'i

“Bahá’u’lláh says there is a sign (from God) in every phenomenon: the sign of the intellect is contemplation and the sign of contemplation is silence, because it is impossible for a man to do two things at one time—he cannot both speak and meditate."

Baha’u’llah
Baha'i prophet
Baha'i

“For the tongue is a smoldering fire, and excess of speech a deadly poison. Material fire consumeth the body, whereas the fire of the tongue devoureth both heartand soul. The force of the former lasteth but for a time, whilst the effects oft he latter endureth a century."

‘Abdu’l-Bahá
Baha'i leader
Baha'i

“A man living with his thoughts in this Kingdom knows perpetual joy. The ills all flesh is heir to do not pass him by, but they only touch the surface of his life, the depths are calm and serene.”

Kabir
Hindu poet
Hinduism

"If saying Ram gave liberation
Saying candy made your mouth sweet
Saying fire burned your feet,
Saying water quenched your thirst,
Saying food banished hunger,
The whole world would be free."

Shunryu Suzuki
Zen master
Buddhism

“Calmness of mind does not mean you should stop your activity. Real calmness should be found in activity itself. We say, ‘It is easy to have calmness in inactivity, it is hard to have calmness inactivity, but calmness in activity is true calmness.’"

Shunryu Suzuki
Zen master
Buddhism

“If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything."

Huston Smith
Scholar of religion
Buddhism

“They revered what they understood, but there was more than they could exhaust. To the end he [The Buddha] remained for them half light, half shadow, defying complete intelligibility. So they called him Sakyamuni, ‘silent sage (muni) of the Sakya clan,’ symbol of something that could not be described."

Lao Tzu
Daoist sage
Daoism

“Those who know don’t talk
Those who talk don’t know"

Lao Tzu
Daoist sage
Daoism

"True words aren’t beautiful
Beautiful words aren’t true
the good aren’t eloquent
The eloquent aren’t good
The wise aren’t learned
The learned aren’t wise"

Chuang Tzu
Daoist sage
Daoism

"Heaven and Earth have great beauty but no words"

Lao Tzu
Daoist sage
Daoism

“As for the Way, the Way that can be spoken of is not the constant Way;
As for names, the name that can be named is not the constant name.
The nameless is the beginning of the ten thousand things;
The named is the mother of the ten thousand things.”

Chuang Tzu
Daoist sage
Daoism

“A fish trap is used to catch fish, but once the fish have been taken, the trap is forgotten. The rabbit trap is used to snare rabbits, but once the rabbit is captured, the trap is ignored. Words are used to express concepts, but once you have grasped the concepts, the words are forgotten.”

Chuang Tzu
Daoist sage
Daoism

“This generation believes that the value of the Tao is to be found in books. But books are nothing more than words, and words have value but only in terms of their meaning. Meaning is constantly seeking to express what cannot be said in words and thus passed on…The form, colour, name, and sound are in no way sufficient to capture or convey the truth, which is why it is said that the knowledgeable do not speak and those who speak are not knowledgeable.”

Confucius
Founder of Confucianism
Confucianism

“Tzu-kung said, ‘The gentleman is judged wise by a single word he utters; equally, he is judged foolish by a single word he utters. That is why one really must be careful of what one says.’"

Confucius
Founder of Confucianism
Confucianism

“The Master said, ‘I am thinking of giving up speech.'
Tzu-kung said, ‘If you did not speak, what would there be for us, your disciples, to transmit?'
The Master said, ‘What does Heaven ever say? Yet there are the four seasons going round and there are the hundred things coming into being. What does Heaven ever say?’”

Buson
Japanese poet and painter
Art & Literature

“Neither speak ill of others, nor well of yourself.
The moment you open
Your mouth to speak,
The autumn wind stirs
And chills your lips."

Michelle Voss Roberts
Scholar of theology
Science, Psychology, & Philosophy

“The unsaid can be a powerful and paradoxical means of coming to voice."

Pierre Hadot
French philosopher and historian
Science, Psychology, & Philosophy

“There is a great deal more philosophy in spiritual exercises like Socrates’ dialogues than in the construction of a philosophical system. The task of dialogue consists essentially in pointing out the limits of language, and its inability to communicate moral and existential experience.”