Followers have consistently sought silence and stillness. They are the treasures sought by the monastic life, whether it be the monasticism of the mysterious, math-loving Pythagoreans of ancient Greece; the Jewish Essenes from the time of Christ; Buddhist monasticism; or Christian monasticism from its inception in the fourth century. Perhaps the greatest cenobite tradition of Christianity, the communities on Mt. Athos, the “Holy Mountain,” in Thrace, are known as hesychasts, who take their name from hesychia (stillness). The quest for stillness was (and is) their vocation.
Gregory of Nyssa taught that the Christian Moses is primarily the contemplative monk who “exiles himself from the society of men for forty years, and, living alone with himself alone, fixes his regard, untroubled and in tranquility on the contemplation of things invisible.”
A Follower, of course, must not imitate Nyssa's Christian Moses and forsake human society. Jesus Christ, after all, participated in societal functions such as weddings, even though, during his mission, he seems to have lived in an itinerant-type of monasticism (similar to Francis of Assisi later), surrounded by his disciples, with frequent trips to solitude in order to pray.
But the Follower is called upon to cultivate silence and stillness, and the call is most difficult today. The Follower today must contend with a level of noise and commotion unknown to previous eras. The big cities have always clamored, but the clamoring is now elevated by artificial means and, worse, is taken to the isolated areas by the automobile–oases of silence in the north are polluted during the summer; still southern hollows are profaned during the winter. The most silent areas are now constantly under threat of the sudden gunning of an engine or the grinding of truck gears.
Modern technology has also made every man a dictator over other men's silence. In previous eras only a king or a rich man could command the resources to make noise at a level accessible to every person with an ordinary portable stereo or a TV.