The Active, Attentive Listening Called Silence

“Discipleship begins with silence and listening. When we listen to someone, we think we are silent because we do not speak; but our minds continue to work, our emotions react, our will responds for or against what we hear, we may even go further than this, with thoughts and feelings buzzing in our heads which are quite unrelated to what is being said. This is not silence as it is implied in discipleship. The real silence towards which we must aim as a starting-point is a complete repose of mind and heart and will, the complete silence of all there is in us, including our body, so that we may be completely aware of the word we are receiving, completely alert yet in complete repose.
The silence I am speaking of is the silence of the sentry on duty at a critical moment; alert, immobile, poised and yet alive to every sound, every movement. This living silence is what discipleship requires first of all, and this is not achieved without effort. It requires from us a training of our attention, a training of our body, a training of our mind and our emotions so that they are kept in check, completely and perfectly.” (Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh, The Modern Spirituality Series, pg. 62)