Orthodox Byzantine Chants
Holy Mount Athos
Once a young man visited a hermit. He wanted to learn and ask so many things. But he was astounded by the hermit’s silence and by his reluctance to continue a vain talk.
Being irritated, the young man asked him rather for trying him: Gheronda what have you learnt from life in so many years of silence?
The starets, without answering, threw the bucket into a well and lifted it back as fast as he could.
”Look in the well and tell me what you see!” he told him.
The young man looked carefully and said: ”Unfortunately I cannot see anything.”
After a few moments of silence the hermit told him again: ”Look back there and tell me what you see!”
The young man after reluctantly looking there again said: ”Now I see my face reflecting in the water as if I had my home mirror in front of me.”
The hermit without stopping his rosary, told him: ”You see?” ”When I threw the bucket in the well to take water, the water got turbid.” ”Now when it cleared up, you can see your face in it.” ”This is the experience of silence: man sees himself!”
The young man, after reverently asking for the hermit’s blessing, went back in the noisy world, but this time deeply focused.