Pupil: When you are listening to natural sounds, sometimes if you are not thinking of anything in particular this seems to calm you down. Is this a sort of silence?
Abdullah: You mean listening to the noise of birds and so on outside? Yes, if you are able to be quiet enough to listen to those sounds, of course you are being silent. The idea of being silent is to shut up all the associative thinking going on in your head. When you have silence, you can maintain the silence and be talking. This is a way of remembering God constantly, and another way to do it is to be able to sit and listen, and give attention to outside. If you are in a forest or on the seashore listening to the waves and not having any thoughts going through your mind, that is silence. At that moment you are quite close to God, for God is the silence. This is where he is. He is the silence. Very few people are taught to listen … most people cannot stand their own company, they bring noise into themselves in the form of inner talking when circumstances outside are relatively quiet.
There is another form of listening which is very subtle, and that is from the heart.