Testimony in the mountains

11.07.2014 - Ernesto H. De Casas

Testimony in the mountains
(Image by Photo: Teresa Gutiérrez)

This article is available in: Spanish, English and Portuguese

On this past May 4th, we gathered for a celebration in the mountains, celebrating the 45th year that has passed since we began this memorable journey. It was a before and after for all of us…

Various events happened on that day. The harangue, the press conference, interviews done with Silo and a meeting with participants and travelers from diverse parts of the globe.

This time we once more commemorated Silo’s talk, did our ceremonies, listened to the taped

harangue and gave testimonies on how these ideas have affected our lives in a positive way.

These commentaries and acknowledgments were conjugated by emotional stories.

This is mine:  Although, maybe the most significant and simple was the one from a participant whom, after listening to Silo, commented: “… well one starts to let the chips fall little by little…” meaning, that we start to gain understanding  from these tremendous truths, allowing us to see that things can be better.


A testimony given previous to mine referred to the decision to ‘”stop suffering”, basing it on the most important subject in the harangue as something crucial and describing it in an ample way… No doubt that is something to incorporate, sooner or later; wanting to surpass suffering is decisive. We did not know that, until that day. Before then, we knew other things, and we had a lot of resources. But that subject was revealed that day. It is very important to understand this well because unnecessary suffering puts a stop to life, it complicates things. It presents itself in diverse and tricky ways and it makes us believe that “it is not that important” that ‘suffering’ [1], belongs in places where there is war, extreme hunger, catastrophes, etc., but it is not in our day-to-day life. It is not like that at all. It is apparent that the one who suffers can make suffering for others; like the reverse of “treating others as you like to be treated. That is why it is essential to propose the surpassing of suffering.


At least, I believe, that the social and personal suffering is an indication that something is not going well and that there is a need for some change. This reminds me of a friend from Andalusia, when she commented how she started to participate in Siloism. She said: “__They told me, ‘Look, this is not about suffering and I said to myself “Ah, this is for me!”. Nice, don’t you think? That’s what it is. Speaking of which, in this land, now, another Park of Reflection is being constructed.

This had various steps, it started at the beginnings of 1967 when we were told by Silo that his thoughts were going to be announced, we said: that is good!  After, in the middle of 1968 he proposed to go ahead with that but, when he mentioned that he was retiring to live in the mountains, we realized that this was serious, very serious, especially with the censures of the dictatorship in power at that time. He began dwelling in the Andean mountains in the beginnings of 1969 and by the following March preparations for the public act started with eyes set on an April or May date. We were given a permit by the authorities with the now famous phrase ‘go and talk to the stones’ given the fact that we asked for permission to do the act in a place in the City and another in the mountains (we were thinking of a spacious and non-conventional site). Authorities denied the permit for the City and we came to the Andean mountains. We were here since the morning of a sunny May 4th. Little by little the travelers were coming, They arrived in buses, and cars; there were members of the press and a swarm of armed ‘guards’ (army) ‘guarding’ the site. Close to the middle of the day, an orator first spoke who summarized some of the previous texts until Silo came down from the mountain slope and started in that special voice _” If you came…” It was then that Silo really started, it was then, that with the nucleus of his proposal and his teachings the journey started. At the end of his message he gave this phrase to the people present there, saying “­­__To you my brother I give you this hope…” as a manifest way of communicating with the people which was his permanent interest.

Later we went to the press conference with various members of the press; some were respectful, others not as much; and someone asked “­­__And now, how will Silo continue?” To which he responded _“The people will tell, the people will tell…”


From that time on, we would have a life with two aspects: one private and one public, where we would express the proposal every time we could, trying have our thinking, feeling and acting be coherent and in the same direction…


After that we went to the center of the City, to a friend’s home, where the journey concluded. We exchanged ideas about the realization of the act and he presented a little book to us with the proposal to carry this project ­­_forward as the background for Humanism and The Message_ which has continued opening ample participation.


We gave then, a great leap forward. Silo was there, we counted with the teachings, with the beginnings of its current of action. We had the clear feeling, the pristine register of a great achievement and, if we had been able to do that against wind and tide, we could do many more things. We had no doubts about it. It gave to us enthusiasm. Something great and good had occurred here. We could communicate it, give continuity and project it towards the future.


Punta de Vacas, May 4- -2014




[1] This is a very important theme. In our culture it is only mentioned in the field of health. Furthermore, it is only in the past century that the first mention appeared as ‘Cultural not  well-being” i.e. or as an example with ‘anguish’ and now is quite common to mention ‘stress’, as well as ‘depression’ (even in youth). In India the concept appeared with ‘dukka’ and in Buddhism it is treated, and rightly so, as something from which one must be liberated. Today it is uncovered by the thousand and one ways of the so call self-help. There must be something to all that. But it is in Silo that it is the concept of surpassing

the mental suffering is clearly showed along with the active non-violence in order to advance our History.

Categories: Humanism and Spirituality, South America


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