silhouette of woman at sunset

A Still, Small Voice

Isn’t it strange how deeply we mistrust quiet these days even though silence and solitude are widely held values in most mythological and spiritual traditions?

Here’s one of my favorite examples: the biblical story of Elijah.

Elijah the Prophet is running for his life.

He’s just destroyed a cult run by the evil queen Jezebel, and he did it by staging a loud and spectacular piece of stagecraft designed to showcase the one true God. Now Jezebel seeks revenge.

Elijah flees for the wilderness, praying to die.

God answers his prayers, but not by killing him. Instead, he teaches Elijah the beauty of the soft-spoken approach.

He instructs Elijah to wait for him at Mount Sinai, where Moses received the Ten Commandments centuries earlier.

So Elijah goes to the mountain.

A loud wind roars, but God is not in the wind.

Then, an earthquake, but God is not in the earthquake.

After that, a fire, but still no God.

And after the fire, “a still, small voice.”

God is in the voice. Small. Still. Quiet.

I’d love to collect more of these stories, from across religions and mythologies. Can you help me? No need to write them all out, unless you have time and are so inclined. You could just tell me: check out the such-and-such myth. Thanks!

*The above post previously appeared on Susan Cain’s former blog, The Power of Introverts.