If silence is spiritual, is there a role for it in our secular world?
Play • 15 min

Is silence spiritual? In the third and final part of a group discussion on silence, we dive deeper into silence and the boundaries between spiritual and secular silence in society.

Timestamps to key points

[02:00] - Silence as the “presence of everything”, as spiritual

[02:20] - Nour on there being nothing before anything, on there being silence before any noise or sound, and God as silence

[03:00] - Everything being created by sound from nothing seems common to all traditions

[03:40] - Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Deep Listening who listens deeply to the sounds of the world and has the capacity to utter five essential sounds that heal the world

[04:07] - “If you can find silence within yourself, you can hear these sounds” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh in his book, Silence - The Power of Quiet in a World Full of Noise

[04:15] - The 5 essential sounds

[04:46] - Science has the big bang, a sound, as the beginning, and recognises that everything is frequency, including sound

[05:57] - What is the role of silence in a secular society?

[06:13] - Malik on silence as relational, and silence as essential to communication and connection

[07:23] - Gary on the word in every tradition, there was silence in every tradition until a word is spoken. It’s the same with people.

[08:40] - Nour on how in silence we can allow the divine to come through us, and the importance of listening to our own silence

[09:03] - A story of a Quaker wedding, which is mostly in silence

[10:17] - The simplicity and profundity of another Quaker wedding, which enabled more connection to the bride and groom

[11:00] - Being a part of everything and awe struck in silence

[11:53] - An Islamic saint’s wisdom: “Only speak if your words are going to be more beautiful than silence"

[12:33] - Every change first starts with awareness


  • Gary Gruber lives in Southern Arizona, USA and is a long time educator, active blogger, participates in a variety of groups working on spiritual development, change in organisations and growth in people. His blog can be found here: https://garygruber.com/, and he can be found on twitter @garyrgruber
  • Malik has lived in many countries and is currently lives and works in NY, USA.
  • Nourallah Chakroun lives in Cornwall, UK and is the founder of a women's group based in Truro, Cornwall called Inspiring Women Network (IWN). IWN can be found on twitter @InspiringWomenN and https://www.facebook.com/inspiringwomennetwork/ 

Resources/further reading

  • Silence - The Power of Quiet in a World Full of Noise by Thich Nhat Hanh, available wherever books are sold and lent

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