I learned, among other things, that a time of quiet reflection and contemplation can be a great teacher. . . . I approached my extended time of silence and solitude with an open mind, a porous heart, and a spirit of excited optimism. . . . Although my rational mind shaped this extended [isolated] retreat, what I learned came through doing it. And, to an even greater degree, by the "nondoing" of a great many activities I would otherwise have engaged in. The paradox of simultaneously doing and nondoing, striving to learn and letting learning simply happen, is a source of the potency that resides within silence and solitude.

Richard Mahler, Stillness