Silence as Shadow

Stories Save Us
Writing through Time

Shadow on tarmac, Cumbria, 2010

“In Catholic mysticism there is a path known as the via negativa—the practice of emptying the self of its own will, desires, and even knowledge, in order that the soul may be filled by God. Poetry offers a similar path, rich with nondoing. It is found first in the relationship between speech and its steady companion and shadow-side, silence” (Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry, Essays by Jane Hirschfield, pp. 169-170).


Silence as shadow. Words dissolve into the dark silence. Silence enters the space between written words . . . the space between spoken words. In the space between, silence speaks; [In] “the space between, the tears we cry” (“The Space Between” by the Dave Matthews Band). Silence between tears. Silence punctuates . . . between our fears. Silence congeals in the breath between our screams.


Our shadows scream for our attention. The disowned parts of our personalities weep loudly in the dungeons of our own creation. Parts of us are crippled through our own neglect. Our ego’s tyrannical rule cuts us off from feelings and attitudes that we need for our spiritual growth.


Meditate on silence. Shut our egos up and let God speak in the depths of our souls. Empty ourselves. Let the diversity inside have a voice . . . many voices. Perhaps, the voices of angels. “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love . . .” (1 Corinthians 13).

Photo Credit: Photo by S John Davey at Flickr Creative Commons.

Stories Save Us
Writing through Time
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  1. Sylvia R February 28, 2013

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