by Eckhart Tolle
Silence and Stillness
Stillness is your essential nature. What is stillness? The inner space or awareness in which
the words on this page are being perceived and become
thoughts. Without that awareness, there would be no
perception, no thoughts, no world.
You are that awareness, disguised as
When you lose touch with inner
stillness, you lose touch with yourself. When you lose
touch with yourself, you lose yourself in the world.
Your innermost sense of self, of who
you are, is inseparable from stillness. This is the I Am
that is deeper than name and form.
The equivalent of external noise is
the inner noise of thinking. The equivalent of external
silence is inner stillness.
Whenever there is some silence around
you — listen to it. That means just notice it. Pay
attention to it. Listening to silence awakens the
dimension of stillness within yourself, because it is
only through stillness that you can be aware of silence.
See that in the moment of noticing
the silence around you, you are not thinking. You are
aware, but not thinking.
When you become aware of silence,
immediately there is that state of inner still
alertness. You are present. You have stepped out of
thousands of years of collective human conditioning.
Look at a tree, a flower, a plant.
Let your awareness rest upon it. How still they are, how
deeply rooted in Being. Allow nature to teach you
When you look at a tree and perceive
its stillness, you become still yourself. You connect
with it at a very deep level. You feel a oneness with
whatever you perceive in and through stillness. Feeling
the oneness of yourself with all things is true love.
Silence is helpful, but you don’t
need it in order to find stillness. Even when
there is noise, you can be aware of the stillness
underneath the noise, of the space in which the noise
arises. That is the inner space of pure awareness,
You can become aware of awareness as
the background to all your sense perceptions, all your
thinking. Becoming aware of awareness is the arising of
Any disturbing noise can be as
helpful as silence. How? By dropping your inner
resistance to the noise, by allowing it to be as it is,
this acceptance also takes you into that realm of inner
peace that is stillness.
Whenever you deeply accept this
moment as it is — no matter what form it takes — you
are still, you are at peace.
Pay attention to the gap — the gap
between two thoughts, the brief, silent space between
words in a conversation, between the notes of a piano or
flute, or the gap between the in-breath and out-breath.
When you pay attention to those gaps,
awareness of "something" becomes — just
awareness. The formless dimension of pure consciousness
arises from within you and replaces identification with form.
True intelligence operates silently.
Stillness is where creativity and solutions to problems
Is stillness just the absence of
noise and content? No, it is intelligence itself — the
underlying consciousness out of which every form is
born. And how could that be separate from who you are?
The form that you think you are came out of that and is
being sustained by it.
It is the essence of all galaxies and
blades of grass; of all flowers, trees, birds, and all
Stillness is the only thing in this
world that has no form. But then, it is not really a
thing, and it is not of this world.
When you look at a tree or a human
being in stillness, who is looking? Something deeper
than the person. Consciousness is looking at its
In the Bible, it says that God
created the world and saw that it was good. That is what
you see when you look from stillness without thought.
Do you need more knowledge? Is more
information going to save the world, or faster
computers, more scientific or intellectual
analysis? Is it not wisdom that humanity needs most at
But what is wisdom and where is it to
be found? Wisdom comes with the ability to be still.
Just look and just listen. No more is needed. Being
still, looking, and listening activates the
non-conceptual intelligence within you. Let stillness
direct your words and actions.
Excerpted from Stillness Speaks
Reprinted with permission of New World Library, Novato,
Eckhart Tolle was born in Germany where he
spent the first 13 years of his life. After graduating
from the University of London, he was a research
scholar and supervisor at Cambridge University. At the
age of 29 a profound spiritual transformation
virtually dissolved his old identity and radically
changed the course of his life.
The next few years were devoted
to understanding, integrating and deepening that
transformation, which marked the beginning of an intense
Eckhart is not aligned with any
particular religion or tradition. In his teaching, he
conveys a simple yet profound message with the timeless
and uncomplicated clarity of the ancient spiritual
masters: there is a way out of suffering and into peace.
Eckhart is currently traveling
extensively, taking his teaching and his presence
throughout the world. He has lived in Vancouver, Canada,