In his last book, The Power of Soul: Living the Twelve Virtues, practicing psychotherapist Robert Sardello reclaimed these qualities as magnets drawing us into deeper connection with the cosmos and the spiritual needs of others. In this erudite volume, he explores the multidimensional world of silence. Much of the material was developed with his wife Cheryl Sanders-Sardello for a course they offered at their School of Spiritual Psychology.
All the world's religions have a reverence for Silence (which Sardello capitalizes to emphasize its special nature). The traditions recognize its autonomy: "Silence is not something that we do, nor is it a personal capacity. We can become quiet and by doing so the door to Silence opens." Sadly enough, most of us choose to spend our time in "the noise of our thoughts and emotion within the incessant clamor around us."
Sardello claims that we are uncomfortable with Silence and there is a bit of truth to that: witness your first attempts to spend a day in Silence. Our culture teaches us that incessant activity is the norm and there are plenty of distractions hidden away in all that frenzied activity. Sardello longs for more silence in the rituals of religion and laments that we only take "a moment of silence" for the dead. Churches and cathedrals used to be quiet places but not anymore. The author notes that even museums contain guided tours filled with the noise of information.
Sardello states: "We think we can find Silence by being quiet for a while, going inward, getting back in touch with ourselves, disengaging for a time from all of the pressures and tensions of life. This limited view is like getting to the door of the cathedral and thinking that is the whole of the experience." He prefers a more nuanced approach which is presented in chapters on:
• The Guardians of Silence
• Entering the Silence
• Relating within Silence
• The Healing Power of Silence
• Silence in Daily Living
• Making a Clearing for Silence
• The Silence of the Heart
• Silence, Prayer, and Meditation
The life-renewing spiritual presence of Silence can deepen and enrich our appreciation of relationship, healing, grace, devotion and service. In the introduction, Therese Schroeder-Sheker salutes this paperback as "a work of great importance" that is "filled with the breath of the Holy Spirit." Sardello does manage to make us to think more expansively about Silence and its abundant benefits.