The individual soul … is itself no slight thing. Yet it must become worthy of this contemplation … it must be quiet. Let us assume that quiet too is the body that wraps it round – quiet the earth, quiet the air and the sea, quiet the high heavens.
– Plotinus, Enneads, V.1.2
So we said: If to any man the tumult of the flesh grew silent, silent the images of earth and sea and air; and if the heavens grew silent, and the very soul grew silent to herself and by not thinking of self mounted beyond self; if all dreams and images grew silent, and every tongue and every symbol – everything that passes away … and in their silence He alone spoke to us, not by them, but by Himself: so that we should hear His word, not by any tongue of the flesh, not in the voice of an angel, not in the sound of thunder, nor in the darkness of a parable – but that we should hear Himself … should hear Himself and not them.
– St. Augustine, Confessions, 9.10.25