I recently read a phrase attributed to Mother Teresa where she described silence and its relationship to God by saying:
God is the friend of silence. See how nature—trees, grass, grow in silence; see the stars, the moon, and the sun, how they move in silence…We need silence to be able to touch souls.
As I read “we need silence to be able to touch souls” immediately came to my mind a scene I had watched from a ‘controversial’ Serbian artist who in 2010 was the subject of a popular retrospective at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
In that art show called “The Artist Is Present,” Marina Abramović sat in the museum’s atrium for 700 hours (6 days a week for 7 hours a day) inviting the crowds of viewers to sit directly opposite her, in silent dialogue.
This video shows Abramović, sitting and waiting for her next silent interlocutor. Then, at the end, Ulay (who was her lover and collaborator for 12 years when they were young, and not having seen each other for 22 years) approaches, and Abramović looks up to what probably was the single most unexpected sight of the night. Their reunion is a very touching scene and remind us that our soul does not need words to speak and communicate.
We live in a world of rapid and constant communication and input where our attention is all the time somewhere else and we have a never ending cascade of thoughts swimming in our head.
What if we stop to listen the silence?
What may happen if we embrace Mother Teresa’s sentence when we are with other people (or alone)? Maybe, just maybe, we touch a soul.