Meister Eckhart says we should “quit flapping our gums about God and return to the inner wealth of silence.”  Once you’ve tasted emptiness, nothingness, and silence, there’s not a lot to say—about that. Now there’s a lot more to say about other things because you’ve got your energy back. I think all creativity comes out of an encounter with silence. And when you think about what is an experience of awe, for example, it shuts you up.

“Untitled’ Photo by Muhammed Fayiz on Unsplash

 I think all awe renders us silent, and therefore all experiences of awe are a quick trip back to no sound, no word, to nothingness. And that’s why they’re so valuable, and we have to build our lives, our culture, our education, our spiritual lives, on these profound experiences that take us beyond noise and the monkey mind.  

If you look at it physiologically, it’s beyond our left brain. It’s our left brain that wants to talk. The right brain is happy to be silent or make music or other creative expression  that takes you closer to carrying on the journey of awe and invites others in. I like to see art as humanity’s capacity to increase awe in the universe. So, everything we do that’s beautiful brings more awe, and therefore more silence born of appreciation.

It is a truism that “you can’t have music without silence.” Yes, what is between the notes counts as much or more than the notes.  Silence allows the between the notes into us. Whereas our culture, especially now, is so busy with all notes, and no silence….

“Untitled” Photo by Natalia Figueredo on Unsplash

Honoring space, honoring emptiness is important.  In our daily lives, finding room and space, creating solitude—even if it means structuring time during the day, or a corner of our room, or a room in the house, or a walk in the woods, whatever it takes.

One of my faculty members, Kaleo Ching, over the years created a workshop called “Tai Chi and Mask Making” and took it regularly to prisons.  Whenever he did such a workshop with inmates on murderer’s row, the same thing happened. People would come up to him afterwards and say, “This is the first time in my life that I’ve experienced stillness.”

Might silence then be a kind of “murder prevention” program?  Solitude is basic to our sanity and to our creativity.  But does our culture honor it in its healthy manifestations? 

Adapted from: Reverend Matthew Fox & Lama Tsomo, The Lotus and the Rose: A Conversation Between Tibetan Buddhism & Mystical Christianity, pp. 357-359.

Banner Image: “Sailing on the Horizon” Photo by Hugo Kerr on Unsplash

For Deeper Contemplation

Honor the fact that we have space and emptiness in our lives.  Find room and space, create solitude—even if it means structuring time during the day, in a corner of your room, or any room in the house, or take a walk in the woods–whatever it takes. But feel the silence.  Let it talk to you.  What is it saying?

Recommended Reading

How can we move away from “us vs. them” thinking as our surroundings feel more divided and polarized than ever? Co-authors Matthew Fox and Lama Tsomo discuss how Tibetan Buddhism and Mystical Christianity answer this question from unique points of view, with many commonalities and practical tools to break down the barriers between us.

Responses are welcomed. To add your comment, please click HERE or scroll to the bottom of the page.

Share this meditation


Daily Meditations with Matthew Fox is made possible through the generosity of donors. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation

Search Meditations





Receive our daily meditations

6 thoughts on “Silence—an “Inner Wealth””

  1. Avatar

    For more than 30 years I’ve used the guitar like many use the drum, as a way into the trancelike nonverbal space. I cherish this particular way of meditation. Thank you for speaking about music in this way as a pathway of silence and meditation!

    1. Gail Ransom

      Dear Brent,
      thank you for writing about your creative process with music. There are so many ways that music leads us into that deep, trance like state. I would imagine that most of your songs are born in that nonverbal space.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

Leave a Comment

To help moderate the volume of responses, the Comment field is limited to 1500 characters (roughly 300 words), with one comment per person per day.

Please keep your comments focused on the topic of the day's Meditation.

As always, we look forward to your comments!!
The Daily Meditation Team

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

Join us in meditation that supports your compassionate action

Receive Matthew Fox's Daily Meditation by subscribing below: