Posts Tagged ‘sherry turkle’

AustraliaSkyZen has been called the study of silence. “We need silence,” writes Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, “just as much as we need air, just as much as plants need light.” But how, exactly, are we to study silence? By what means can we cultivate its nourishing presence?

Just be quiet, one is tempted to suggest. Just be still. But in a world rife with noise and distraction, that choice may no longer seem plausible–or even very desirable. In her book Reclaiming Conversation, the sociologist Sherry Turkle reports that many of the people she has interviewed, particularly young people, have an aversion to silence, finding it merely boring. They would rather go online. And as Thich Nhat Hanh observes in his book Silence, many of us are afraid to sit quietly, doing nothing. By keeping ourselves ever-busy and ever-connected, we avoid such negative feelings as loneliness, restlessness, and sadness, which can become all too present when we are silent and alone. If we wish to study and cultivate silence, it would seem, we have first to overcome our resistance, whether it be grounded in aversion or fear. (more…)

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Cloisters of Lisbon Cathedral

“There is this cave / In the air behind my body / That nobody is going to touch: / A cloister, a silence / Closing around a blossom of fire.”* So wrote the American poet James Wright (1927-1980) in his poem “The Jewel.” Wright’s images are enigmatic, in the way dreams are, but their import is clear. They evoke a place in the self that is silent, luminous, and inviolate. (more…)

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