Skip to main content


When I was twenty I decided to take a vow of silence. I'd been reading a biography on Mahatma Gandhi and learned that this is what he used to do, so in the spirit of what's good enough for the goose I shut my lips and bit my tongue.

When I was still speaking, I announced my vow to my family. This was a big mistake. Saying I planned to keep quiet called attention to a practice that should really go on inconspicuously. The sun had not yet set and I was back to gabbing away.

Had I to do it all over again, I would have modified my vow to allow me to speak only when absolutely necessary, as to convey important information that could not be communicated without words. Which is basically what I do now. Basically I am a living vow of silence. Writing is after all silent communication. Just don't invite me to your party or else I won't shut up.

If more people practiced silence, how much quieter society would be! It says in some book somewhere that you shouldn't take the Lord's name in vain. What exactly is the Lord's name? If the Lord is everything, then every word names God or God's attributes. So all language is really the Lord's name. All sound, even. So this commandment really means that you should not speak in vain.

And yet here we are, in an atmosphere of so much idle chatter and gossip. So much air pollution and not just automobiles to blame. Stop and listen to yourself speak. You'll find that most of what you say could be better left unsaid, or at least edited in the interest of brevity and clarity. I'm not being critical. It's plain truth.

Turns out silence has benefits other than not adding to the ambient noise. You'll be labeled a good listener, thoughtful, intelligent and sensitive. All are traits highly esteemed in the eyes of a potential mate. Look at me I'm single.

So starting today, say only that which is necessary. Another version of this is the lesson we were all taught and some of us learned in kindergarten: If you have nothing good to say, don't say anything at all. Just don't tell anyone about it!


Popular posts from this blog


I was watching the TV show Naked and Afraid last night as I sometimes do. The show teams together two strangers, a man and a woman, who attempt to survive on their own for a period of 21 days in some remote and isolated region. Some of the locales featured include the Australian Outback, the Amazonian rainforest and the African Savanna. The man may have a military background, or be an adventurist or deep sea fisherman. Sometimes he's an ordinary dude who lives with mom. The woman is a park ranger or extreme fitness enthusiast or "just a mom" herself. Sometimes the couple quarrel, sometimes one or both "tap out" (quit) in a fit of anger or illness. It is satisfying to see them actually make it through the challenge and reach their extraction point. The victors are usually exhausted, emaciated, begrimed and bare ass naked. 

Even more satisfying, at least for me, is the occasional ass shot, snuck in at strategic intervals to boost viewership, of course. It's co…


In my days in the working world, doing the traditional 9 to 5 thing - although when I was a teacher it was more like 10 to 2 and 6 to 9; and as a doctor it was often 6 to 6 - I saw how easy it is to fall into the traps of so-called civilized life. I'm talking about modern vices. Things like drinking, smoking, drug use, promiscuity, and a diet of processed food, with or without animal flesh.

During my senior year of high school I decided it was necessary for me to abstain from these five vices. Each day that I didn't 1. drink alcohol, 2. smoke cigarettes, 3. do drugs, 4. eat meat, and 5. have sex or masturbate, was a day lived in the right direction. The direction of purity, divinity, wholesomeness, God consciousness. It was a way of distancing myself from my more earthy peers, who even at the tender age of 17 were indulging in many of these fleshy pursuits, and on a daily basis. I had soccer teammates who smoked a pack of cigarettes, getting their fixes before school, between …


I hereby proclaim that June is meditation month. And July and August and some of September too. For me at least. During the hundred days that comprise summer, give or take, I have taken it upon myself to "assume the position" for approximately one hour each day, usually divided into two 30-minute sessions. During this time I sit in front of a candle flame, let my breathing subside, and with it my mental activity, and literally count the seconds.

The reductive tendency that is emblematic of science has penetrated schools of meditation, and there are many, each of which advertises its particular breed as, if not being the best, at least boasting novel or specific benefits not found in other forms of meditation. 

For example, there is mindfulness, which is the monitoring of thoughts. There is concentration or focus, as on an object or the breath. There is transcendental meditation, which uses the inward repetition of a phrase, or mantra, to "allow your active mind to easily …