Silence: “… Rumi says silence brings a chance to taste the core of our being, to go deeper and experience the oil of the walnut rather than its rattling noise on the shell wall …” ~ Coleman Barks

silence rumi coleman barks

Coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on humanity, across the globe … no country can escape the virus’ relentless impact … but heroic efforts are ongoing by many to ensure our health and safety … helping those who are involved in such efforts is the “order of the day” … and in this spirit, Go Fund Me needs to be commended for organizing various campaigns targeted towards COVID-19 relief efforts. All of these campaigns are worthy of our attention … but for now we wanted to highlight TWO critical ones that we have donated personally and also as Stillness Speaks:

We are all facing financial challenges but if your situation allows you to donate and help then …

… please visit  Frontline Responders Fund’s Go Fund Me page … and help deliver crucial supplies to these frontline responders …

… and/or visit  America’s Food Fund Go Fund Me page and help feed the neighbors in need.

And, we again, express our deepest gratitude to a) the COVID-19 Frontline Responders (all the healthcare professionals – doctors, nurses, hospital/medical-services staff – firefighters, law enforcement, volunteers, and any/all the people involved in keeping the “system-at-large” functioning for ALL of us) … and b) Go Fund Me for organizing America’s Food Fund to feed the needy.

THANK YOU – our lives would not be possible without your dedication.


Meeting the COVID crisis in a balanced and unified manner is crucial for humanity. To this end, we’ve published posts with themes that cultivate and deepen qualities that bring us together (e.g., kindness and compassion) while we live with “social distancing” – an essential action that needs to be sustained and supported by all of us so we can collectively stem and halt the spread of COVID-19 while future preventive tactics are developed.

A key “pursuit” that assists in deepening “togetherness” is silence – admittedly, it is somewhat paradoxical 🙂 … regardless, this post – briefly – touches on this profound action … through a Rumi poem PLUS some related commentary …

Coleman Barks –  professor emeritus at the University of Georgia, USA – has been instrumental, through his translations (renderings?), in popularising Rumi by making his poems very accessible to the English speaking world … and in his book The Soul of Rumi, he talks about “opening to absence” which he considers “the reedbed of silence (also the tile of a chapter in this book) … and, in this chapter’s prose preamble, he encourages us to “move into silence” … by recommending that:

“every so often, say at four-month intervals, we block out a couple of days to spend without talking or reading, without checking e-mail. No telephones or television. We get yard work done. We crawl around on the ground like lizards basking in the reptile mind, like puppies nursing the mammal slope. Touch becomes more profound and exciting …”

Coleman underscores the value of silence by adding: “Rumi says silence brings a chance to taste the core of our being, to go deeper and experience the oil of the walnut rather than its rattling noise on the shell wall. Talking, in his metaphor, is proof we’re not as free as we might be” …

This “proof” is illustrated in Rumi’s poem: The Taste … so pause … read and “take in” this gift from Rumi as you deepen your own immersion in silence …

The Taste of Silence …

silence rumi barks

A walnut kernel shaken against its shell makes
a delicate sound, but

the walnut taste and the sweet oil inside makes
unstruck music.

Mystics call the shell rattling talk;
the other, the taste of silence.

We’ve been speaking poetry and
opening so-called secrets
of soul growth long enough.

After days of feasting, fast;
after days of sleeping,
stay awake one night;

after these times of bitter storytelling,
joking, and serious considerations,

we should give ourselves two days
between layers of baklava
in the quiet seclusion where

soul sweetens and thrives more than with language.

~~ Rumi

— —- —

In this same chapter, Coleman also posits that “The mysterious conversation (sohbet) of Rumi and Shams surely rests on a bedrock of silence.” … and he brings in …

Carl Jung’s perspective through one of Jung’s letter of May 30th, 1957: “Solitude is a fount of healing which makes my life worth living. Talking is often a torment for me, and I need many days of silence to recover from the futility of words.”


May you remain safe and healthy as you navigate this pandemic.

This poem and all of Coleman’s prose (all text in italics) is from The Soul of Rumi: A New Collection of Ecstatic Poems by Coleman Barks.

Images: (edited and logo added): Featured and 1) Matterhorn with Stelisee by eixeneize, 2) Tranquil waters of lake Durusu (Lake Terkos) at Sunrise by Muhur. All purchased from depositphotos, for use only on our website/social channels (these images are not permitted to be shared separate from this post).


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