Silence, the Universal Refuge


“Silence is the universal refuge, the sequel to all dull discourses and all foolish acts, a balm to our every chagrin, as welcome after satiety as after disappointment.”

– Henry David Thoreau

Some of us (like me) crave silence. Others think it’s too loud, or too scary, or too lonely, and sometimes it can be. But if you’ve never appreciated it, try experiencing silence in a safe, pleasant place.

Reading this selection of quotes may inspire you to find a quiet spot in the woods, the desert, or your own living room.


The silence is there within us. What we have to do is to enter into it, to become silent, to become the silence. The purpose of meditation and the challenge of meditation is to allow ourselves to become silent enough to allow this interior silence to emerge. Silence is the language of the spirit.

– John Mains


As deep as I ever went into the forest
I came upon an old stone bench, very, very old,
and around it a clearing, and beyond that
trees taller and older than I had ever seen.
Such silence!

– Mary Oliver


It is in deep solitude and silence that I find the gentleness with which I can truly love my brother and sister.

– Thomas Merton


If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with death.

– Pablo Neruda


In the silence of the heart God speaks.If you face God in prayer and silence, God will speak to you.

– Mother Teresa


I am heading for a time of quiet
When my restlessness is past
And I can lie down on my blanket
And release my fists at last

I am heading for a time of solitude
Of peace without illusions
When the perfect circle marries
All beginnings and conclusions

– Paul Simon [Listen here]


Silence is an empty space, space is the home of the awakened mind.

– Buddha


But the silence in the mind
is when we live best, within
listening distance of the silence
we call God.

– R.S. Thomas


In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in an clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness.

– Mahatma Gandhi


Why are you so afraid of silence,
silence is the root of everything.
If you spiral into its void,
a hundred voices will thunder messages you long to hear.

– Rumi


The silence is all there is. It is the alpha and the omega, it is God’s brooding over the face of the waters; it is the blinded note of the ten thousand things, the whine of wings.

-Annie Dillard

Do you have any favorite quotes about the beauty of quiet?

6 thoughts on “Silence, the Universal Refuge

  1. Hello Christy, What a lovely post! I enjoyed it very much.
    I crave silence from time to time, and like to get a good dose of it every day.

    Wishing you well,

  2. I crave silence, too. In the mornings, after the kids get on the bus, I like to spend at least two hours in silence–reading, writing, or just contemplating. It’s almost a shock to my system when I hear noises again. There’s a great book by Christina Feldman called “Silence: How to Find Inner Peace in a Busy World.” Every time I open it, to any page, I find something that seems to relate to my life that day.

    • Two hours of silence a day sounds wonderful. What will you do during summer break?! Thanks for the book recommendation. Unfortunately, my library system doesn’t have it. Next time I get rid of a batch of books and have room for one, I’ll look for this one.

  3. I used to have music playing all the time, it kept me energized to get as much done in the time I had. Life has slowed down since and I now crave the silence.Music is saved for cleaning the house and not much else. Even in silence there is still something to listen to but it’s a calming rhythm instead.

I'd love for you to share your ideas and experiences.