Posted by: Fritz | July 23, 2008

breaking noise

One of my favorite spiritual authors is Thomas Merton. I get a weekly email with a quote from his many writings. The one below is from a couple weeks ago.

Merton calls us to put our busy, energy consuming lives in perspective and to not love the noise too much. He tells us that the noise we make with all our machines is an illusion that prevents us from hearing the reality of the silence of the world.

Psalm 46 tells us to “Be still and know that I am God”.

Responding to the call of a simpler lifestyle not only reduces our carbon footprint, but it also puts us in a position to be more attuned to the reality of the world and the suffering of others as well as the One who created it all and suffered so that we might have life.

Those who love their own noise are impatient of everything else. They constantly defile the silence of the forests and the mountains and the sea. They bore through silent nature in every direction with their machines, for fear that the calm world might accuse them of their own emptiness. The urgency of their swift movement seems to ignore the tranquility of nature by pretending to have a purpose. The loud plane seems for a moment to deny the reality of the clouds and of the sky, by its direction, its noise, and its pretended strength. The silence of the sky remains when the plane has gone. The tranquility of the clouds will remain when the plane has fallen apart. It is the silence of the world that is real. Our noise, our business, our purposes, and all our fatuous statements about our purposes, our business, and our noise: these are the illusion.

Thomas Merton. No Man Is An Island (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1955: 257.


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