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Speaking About Silence

By Jon Sievert

At this week’s Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Service, the Rev. Wyman Rousseau explores the need for silence in our everyday life, employing poetry, music, and reflection.

UU Service
“Speaking About Silence”
By Rev. Wyman Rousseau
Sun, Feb 12, 10:30am
La Posada de la Aldea
Ancha de San Antonio 15

There are many kinds of silence and not all are helpful to our human condition. There is the silence in the face of injustice. Not good. There is the silence based on fear and intimidation. Not good. But there is also the silence of those who intently listen for the voice within, the voice of conscience, the voice of thought, and quietness within the self. The world’s religions share the practice of silence in common.

Even in the 18th century, poets urged us to take five or ten minutes a day to use silence to pay attention to the setting of our lives, to relax the mind, and to be aware of where we are. The 18th-century haiku writer Ryota Oshima wrote: “saying nothing
the guest, the host the white chrysanthemum.” The haiku depicts a moment within the tea ceremony that highlights how every meeting of a person or of a flower is fleeting, precious, and meant to be.

American Jewish author and rabbi Chaim Potok once said silence could be the best time to learn: “I’ve begun to realize that you can listen to silence and learn from it. It has a quality and a dimension all its own.” A 2013 study found that when mice were given two hours of silence per day, they developed new brain cells in the hippocampus. Maybe the mice are onto something.

Rev. Rousseau is a full-time resident of San Miguel and a lifelong Unitarian Universalist. He has been a UU minister for 49 years, serving congregations in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Florida, and North Carolina.

The UU Fellowship meets every Sunday at 10:30am at La Posada de la Aldea, Ancha de San Antonio 15 and welcomes people of all ages, races, religions, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Visitors are invited to attend the service and then join the UUs for hospitality and discussion afterwards. Wheelchair accessible. For additional information, visit


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