The Art of Quiet

legacy of the heartLooking for a quotation to add to a section of my book in progress, I found this lovely passage by Wayne Muller, from his book Legacy of the Heart:

Brother David Steindle-Rast reminds us that the Chinese word for “busy” is composed of two characters: “heart” and “killing.” When we make ourselves so busy that we are always rushing around trying to get this or that “done,” or “over with,” we kill something vital in ourselves, and we smother the quiet wisdom of our heart. When we invest our work with judgment and impatience, always striving for speed and efficiency, we lose the capacity to appreciate the million quiet moment that may bring us peace, beauty, or joy. As we seek salvation through our frantic productivity and accomplishments, we squander the teaching that may be present in this very moment, in the richness of this particular breath.

            In the Book of Ecclesiastes, there is a proverb: “Better one hand full of quiet than two hand full of striving after wind.” Unpracticed in the art of quiet, we hope to find our safety, our belonging, and our healing by increasing our levels of accomplishment. But our frantic busyness actually makes us deaf to what is healing and sacred, both in ourselves and in one another.

Thanks to Mary Ann Brussat and Frederic Brussat, for referencing Muller’s quotation in Spiritual Literacy: Reading the Sacred in Everyday Life.