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Criticism

Out of the silence that is peace a resonant voice shall arise.
—Light on the Path

The silence that we are in the habit of thinking of is not silence. The silence that comes with quiet externals, but chaotic interiors, is not silence. The silence of which I speak may be possible in the greatest external commotion. This silence is the result of peace, a peace realized fully, completely. Out of this silence comes a voice, a resonant voice, a voice “echoing back.” First we must get the peace, then comes the silence, and then the voice.

Why is it so many think they hear the voice when they have neither peace nor silence? Why do they find it difficult to know what is the right and best thing to do for themselves? They can always hear better for other people. I think there is always a shadow that we confound with the real. The voice so many of us hear is the intellectual voice, and not the spiritual. We desire to hear spiritually, but we do not live in the peace that brings the silence where it is possible to hear the inner, the spiritual voice. We have glimpses occasionally, far-away glimmers; but they are not lasting. The trouble is that we desire to reap that which we have not sown. We are so irregular in our sowing. We sow some grand and noble thoughts, and then a large number of irritable, unhappy, discordant thoughts. When we do our reaping, we want only the beautiful part. We wish to reject the thorns and thistles. We sometimes forget even that we sowed anything but loving thoughts, yet our harvest proves the truth to us. Let us sow for peace; let us gain the silence; let us hear the voice. To reach this condition, we must live in our spiritual center. The circumference, the external, is the state where all inharmonious conditions exist. The circumference is continually whirled about. The center is balance, poise, an undisturbed state. Let us live consciously in our spiritual center.

Listen to the song of life. — Light on the Path

How many are listening for the “song,” how many for the cry?

First we must listen to the song within ourselves. Then, when we find the song within, we are reaching, or growing toward, the universal song, or harmony. Are we listening to the “song” when we hear only the discord? And Pope tells us that:
Harmony is discord understood.

Let us consider that last word, “understood.” How quickly we pass our opinion upon another! Do we stop to understand people for what they are? Do we not judge hastily? I want today to impress the truth that the divine in us never criticizes. The spiritual in others, as well as in ourselves, is not open to criticism. There is no criticism in love. Drop criticism out of your life today, — not only in word, but in thought. This will be a stepping-stone to the peace which is silence, and then will follow the “voice” which directs us unerringly. This is not only listening to the “song of life,” but we shall be a part of the “song.” Peace is our first step, — “the peace that passeth understanding,” “peace that floweth like a river,” “great peace,” where nothing shall offend.

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Katharine H. Newcomb

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