Episode 9

If silence is spiritual, is there a role for it in our secular world?

Is silence spiritual? In the third and final part of a group discussion on silence, we dive deeper into silence and the boundaries between spiritual and secular silence in society.

Timestamps to key points

[02:00] - Silence as the “presence of everything”, as spiritual

[02:20] - Nour on there being nothing before anything, on there being silence before any noise or sound, and God as silence

[03:00] - Everything being created by sound from nothing seems common to all traditions

[03:40] - Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Deep Listening who listens deeply to the sounds of the world and has the capacity to utter five essential sounds that heal the world

[04:07] - “If you can find silence within yourself, you can hear these sounds” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh in his book, Silence - The Power of Quiet in a World Full of Noise

[04:15] - The 5 essential sounds

[04:46] - Science has the big bang, a sound, as the beginning, and recognises that everything is frequency, including sound

[05:57] - What is the role of silence in a secular society?

[06:13] - Malik on silence as relational, and silence as essential to communication and connection

[07:23] - Gary on the word in every tradition, there was silence in every tradition until a word is spoken. It’s the same with people.

[08:40] - Nour on how in silence we can allow the divine to come through us, and the importance of listening to our own silence

[09:03] - A story of a Quaker wedding, which is mostly in silence

[10:17] - The simplicity and profundity of another Quaker wedding, which enabled more connection to the bride and groom

[11:00] - Being a part of everything and awe struck in silence

[11:53] - An Islamic saint’s wisdom: “Only speak if your words are going to be more beautiful than silence"

[12:33] - Every change first starts with awareness


  • Gary Gruber lives in Southern Arizona, USA and is a long time educator, active blogger, participates in a variety of groups working on spiritual development, change in organisations and growth in people. His blog can be found here: https://garygruber.com/, and he can be found on twitter @garyrgruber
  • Malik has lived in many countries and is currently lives and works in NY, USA.
  • Nourallah Chakroun lives in Cornwall, UK and is the founder of a women's group based in Truro, Cornwall called Inspiring Women Network (IWN). IWN can be found on twitter @InspiringWomenN and https://www.facebook.com/inspiringwomennetwork/ 

Resources/further reading

  • Silence - The Power of Quiet in a World Full of Noise by Thich Nhat Hanh, available wherever books are sold and lent

About the Podcast

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The Contemplative Edge
Short reflections on the deeper questions of life helping you slow down, go within, reflect and contemplate, so that you can create change from the inside out

About your host

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Rashmir Balasubramaniam

Are you creating change from the inside out with aliveness, presence, wisdom and joy? Transformational coach/thought partner, essence whisperer, playful provocateur, and enabler of the joy of creative flow