Throughout the history of Eastern monasticism, there has always been an understanding of silence and solitude that has been called “hesychia”. Hesychia refers to a state of inner stillness and stability that is increasingly able to discern the presence of God in the length and breadth of the everyday. It involves an attitude of listening that focuses the heart, regardless of what one happens to be doing. But the truth is, such silence does not come cheap. It requires practice, a type of spiritual practice that leads one through many levels of growth. This has its analogy in athletic practice, where to reach excellence demands self-sacrifice, personal commitment, making mistakes, and hours and hours of work. (thanks to NS)