Silence is Essential – 8 quotes from Thich Nhat Hanh’s book – Silence: The Power of Quiet in a World Full of Noise

by Mark Votava

download (17)1. Silence is essential

“Silence is essential. We need silence, just as much as we need air, just as much as plants need light. If our minds are crowded with words and thoughts, there is no space for us.”

2. Colored by perception

“To let go implies to let go of something. The something that we’re holding on to may simply be a creation of our mind, an illusory perception of something, and not the reality of the thing itself. Everything is an object of our mind and is colored by our perception. You get an idea, and before you realize it, you’ve become stuck in that idea. You may get scared because of that idea you’re believing in. You might even get sick because of it. Perhaps that idea brings you a lot of unhappiness and worries, and you would like to be free. But it’s not enough that you want to be free. You have to give yourself enough space and quiet to become free.”

3. Time is life

“Many people cannot allow themselves the time to sit and do nothing but breathe. They consider it to be uneconomical or a luxury. People say ‘time is money.’ But time is much more than money. Time is life. The simple practice of sitting quietly on a regular basis can be profoundly healing. Stopping and sitting is a good way to focus on mindful breathing and nothing else.”

4. Developing understanding and compassion

“If we never suffer, there is no basis or impetus for developing understanding and compassion. Suffering is very important. We have to learn to recognize and even embrace suffering, as our awareness of it helps us grow.”

5. Sincerity and mindfulness

“With sincerity and mindfulness, we can express our desire to begin anew.”

6. Protect our peace

“But we can always make the choice to protect our peace. That doesn’t mean shutting all our windows all of the time, for there are many miracles in the world we call ‘outside.’ Open your windows to these miracles. But look at any one of them with the light of awareness. Even while sitting beside a clear, flowing stream, listening to beautiful music, or watching an excellent movie, don’t entrust yourself entirely to the stream, the music, or the film. Continue to be aware of yourself and your breathing. With the sun of awareness shining in you, you can avoid most dangers – and you will experience the stream of being purer, the music more harmonious, and the soul of the artist completely visible in the film.”

7. If we listen from the mind of silence

“If we listen from the mind of silence, every birdsong and every whispering of the pine branches in the wind will speak to us.”

8. The eyes of compassion

“Waking up this morning I smile. Twenty-four brand-new hours are before me. I vow to live them deeply and learn to look at everything around me with the eyes of compassion.”

Do you believe silence is essential to life?

Purchase Silence: The Power of Quiet in a World Full of Noise