Who are your “silence heroes” — persons, living or dead, famous or obscure, who inspired or mentored or otherwise encouraged your encounter, and/or ongoing relationship, with silence? This is the question that the three co-hosts of this podcast explore in this episode. Cassidy, Carl and Kevin talk about the spiritual leaders, mystics, poets, writers, and other key figures who have helped us to “meet” silence more fully in our lives.
When you really meet silence, when you really encounter silence, it reminds you that you’re good enough, as is — whatever you’re doing, whoever you are, it reminds you that you’re good enough, because it is a place of love, it is a place of self-encounter, it is a place of the encounter of the Divine, of God. — Cassidy Hall
We talk about how our silence heroes inspire us — how they encourage us to love, to embrace nature, to write and enjoy poetry, to be sacred nonconformists, to preserve stillness, teach us how to talk about silence (or how to be silent with silence!), give us both theoretical and practical approaches to silence — all the while using their lyrical and poetic voices to encourage us to be, likewise, the “poets of our own lives” — lives in which silence “allows our own selves to actually come forward and speak.”
We are all poets of our own lives and silence allows our own selves to actually come forward and speak. — Kevin Johnson
Some of the resources and authors we mention in this episode:
- Thomas Merton, Day of a Stranger
- Mary Oliver, Devotions: The Selected Poems
- Sara Maitland, A Book of Silence
- Martin Laird, Into the Silent Land
- Elias Marechal, Tears of an Innocent God
- Maggie Ross, Silence, Volume 1: Process
- Maggie Ross, Silence, Volume 2: Application
- Maggie Ross, Seasons of Death and Life: A Wilderness Memoir
- Rowan Williams, Silence and Honey Cakes
- Desert Fathers and Mothers, The Wisdom of the Desert (edited by Thomas Merton)
- Thomas Merton, Love and Living
- Walt Whitman, The Complete Poems
- Paul Tillich, The Courage to Be
- Thomas Merton, Raids on the Unspeakable
- Thomas Merton, The Literary Essays of Thomas Merton
- J. K. Rowling, The Harry Potter Collection
At one point Carl mentions Martin Thornton when he’s actually talking about Martin Laird, so in all fairness to his Freudian slip, here’s a book worth reading from that author:
- Martin Thornton, Christian Proficiency
Silence is the tomb of Christ — a place of infinite possibility.
— A Monk of New Melleray Abbey
Kevin Johnson is a university professor, writer, speaker, and retreat leader based in Connecticut.
Cassidy Hall is a writer, photographer, and filmmaker based in Los Angeles.
Carl McColman is an author, catechist, and retreat leader based in Atlanta.
For language to be sane, it needs to be suffused with silence; and for silence to be accessible, it needs to be held in language… to be a human being who wishes to enter deeply into the cave of silence, our sherpa will be language. — Carl McColman
Episode 6: Our Silence Heroes
Hosted by: Kevin Johnson
With: Cassidy Hall and Carl McColman
Date Recorded: November 13, 2017