Nana Veary, Eckhart, Rumi, Frankel on Silence

Silence is a powerful practice to access the Source and to receive revelations from Nature.  Native Hawaian spiritual teacher Nana Veary has more to say about silence as a path to Source. 

Stillness. Photo by Bekir Dönmez on Unsplash

Silence means no repetitions, no affirmations, no denials, only a conscious acknowledgement of God’s allness. In the silence, one is beyond words and thoughts. The deeper the silence, the more powerful the meditation. One’s spiritual experiences in the silence are to be kept holy and sacred.

We develop the mystic in us this way.  The more we keep it secret and sacred, the greater the power, and there you have the mystic!

For Nana Veary the very meaning of being a mystic is being at home with silence. “No repetitions, no affirmations, no denials.” Power comes with the silence that takes us “beyond words and thoughts.”

This is not silence in the face of injustice, but silence in the face of spiritual awe.

Veary advises us to keep these latter spiritual experiences “secret.”  Why would she tell us that?  Is it to turn them over in one’s heart so that they teach the heart important lessons?  Is it to resist any ego inflation or spiritual arrogance?

Among the Standing People, Sequoia Forest. Photo by Michael Liao on Unsplash

Meister Eckhart also urges Silence.  Says he:

The Word lies hidden in the soul, unknown and unheard unless room is made for it in the ground of hearing, otherwise it is not heard.  All voices and sounds must cease and there must be pure stillness within, a still silence.

Stillness leads to an encounter with the Divine. The Divine Word wants to speak to us but we need to be silent to take it in.  Often the encounter is far beyond words. 

Says Rumi:

Secretly we spoke,
That wise one and me.
I said,
Tell me the secrets of the world.
He said,
Sh…Let silence
Tell you the secrets of the world.

Wings of light, Westfjords Region, Iceland. Photo by Luke Stackpoole on Unsplash

When brain researcher Andrew Newberg demonstrated that in deep states of meditation we go beyond thought and drop into an “experience of boundlessness,” psychologist and Hasidic mystic Estelle Frankel responded this way:

Evidently, our brains are hardwired to experience the mystical state of oneness we call ‘God’ and Kabbalists refer to as ayin or Ein Sof (literally, ‘Without End’).  Ein Sof is the boundless and transcendent aspect of divinity that is beyond all form….When we emerge from such states of grace, our inner being opens more fully and new layers of soul are revealed to us.

Revelation happens when we can be at home with silence.

Quoted from Estelle Frankel, The Wisdom of Not Knowing, 3f.

Adapted from Matthew Fox, Christian Mystics, pp. 357;

Matthew Fox, Naming the Unnameable; 89 Wonderful and Useful Names for God…Including the Unnameable God, pp. 137f.

Banner Image: Sunset Meditation, San Luis Obispo. Photo by Sage Friedman on Unsplash

Queries for Contemplation

Is it your experience also that Silence takes us to a divinity that is “beyond all form” and that what results in a state of grace experience and an experience of boundlessness?  Of being present with the All?

Recommended Reading

Naming the Unnameable: 89 Wonderful and Useful Names for God …Including the Unnameable God

Too often, notions of God have been used as a means to control and to promote a narrow worldview. In Naming the Unnameable, renowned theologian and author Matthew Fox ignites our imaginations by offering a colorful range of Divine Names gathered from scientists and poets and mystics past and present, inviting us to always begin where true spirituality begins: from experience.
“This book is timely, important and admirably brief; it is also open ended—there are always more names to come, and none can exhaust God’s nature.” -Rupert Sheldrake, PhD, author of Science Set Free and The Presence of the Past

Your Music Your Way Summit

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6 thoughts on “Nana Veary, Eckhart, Rumi, Frankel on Silence”

  1. Avatar

    Yes, Matthew, and I too experience Silence growing by subtraction not addition as you quote in your video. What a timely invitation this week when the fears of the corona virus are keeping us quieter , and also inviting withdrawal from crowds, travel,etc. I hold an image this morning of meeting you all (who are on this website) in the Silence today.

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear Sue,
      Thank you for this uplifting thought that the present withdrawal from the marketplace is a form of subtraction that might invite more silence for each of us. It has been such a swift change. I have hoped that others, like me, have found a slower pace and a nearness to family to be healing, yes, and more affirming of spiritual pursuit.

      Once we spend their days at a slower pace, will we every want to go back to a rough and tumble, media saturated lifestyle? I think there will be some who prefer the sweet peace of silence. I will breathe that hope as I hold silence with you.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

  2. Avatar

    I just posted a link to this essay by you, Matthew, on Facebook, with this introduction:
    “What if, following the advice of health-care professionals and our own hearts, all of us across this singular boundary-less planet accept Covid-19 as a time to step away from everything that typically engages us? What if we accept this as an opportunity to be silent, each in their own way–to go “inside” in more ways than one? Of course it’s more complicated than that. Of course. I am not minimizing that. And people are dying. Even so. Could this be the time for each of us to just step away and value this as a possibility?”
    It seems like a very timely invitation to meditate.

    1. Avatar

      Beautifully said, Michelle. and maybe as we step into silence we’ll be more able to see the Divine Spark that Matthew and Rabbi David talk about today, 3/13. We are so truly interconnected across this planet, how can we develop the faith to spark love and eco-consciousness as quickly as a virus?

    2. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear Michele.
      What a great way to pass on Matt’s message and invite people to take this COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to go on a silent retreat! Certainly, people who are staying home will have gained their commuting hours. Time with family will increase and time for spiritual pursuit = if they choose that. It is an occasion to take a break and look at what is important and what is frenzy for profit in our society. May we all choose to take time away to go inside ourselves and connect with the spirit of creation.

      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

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