I have written and talked a lot about silence. In the book I’m reading I ran across this quote and agree so much with it.
All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.
The only thing I would add to that is “in silence.” That might not have been necessary in Pascal’s time but today it would be.
It is critically important for us to take “down time.” Not just time to sit but time to sit with nothing else going on. It is easy to notice how difficult this is for people when in church you ask people to sit for a moment in silence. It doesn’t take long for the twitching to begin.
Our culture gives so little time for this kind of restfulness. There is almost always something to watch, listen to, or be distracted by. I have noticed that some school systems in the world are beginning to teach children how to sit quietly in a meditative way. What a wonderful thing. The current generations have great trouble with it.
I was an only child and had much time by myself to just be quiet and think. It has helped me to be able to do this. Everyone needs to learn!
The work on our bathroom continues. Today we had the insurance adjuster as areas below the shower seat and the floor were soaked. There must have been a break in the tile that we couldn’t see. We don’t know what they will do but anything will be a help.
There is something disorienting about living somewhere in your house that you never stayed constantly in. It is a strange feeling. I didn’t ever think about it being off putting but it is. I don’t know why. It just feels wrong.
I really can’t think of the word to describe how it feels. The word that comes closest is disordered. According to the dictionary it is: disrupting the healthy or normal functioning of. Our closets are between our bedroom and the bathroom and the bedroom is covered with plastic and unusable. To get clothes I have to wander into the disaster zone and find what I want. I keep moving things to the bedroom I am using. Who knows what will be there when we get done.
I am spending time out of the house, mediating when I can and generally using coping skills to stay myself. I didn’t expect something that is a happy circumstance to be disorienting. Oh well. Live and learn. As a nurse I know that even good stress is stress (eustress) and can get to you. I think that having to delay a week because of the hurricane didn’t help.
They are moving on with the work and I hope they are done soon.
There is so much noise in our daily lives that silence is almost unknown. When I worked for the church I would occasionally ask people to sit in silence for one minute. I actually timed it and after 30 seconds the fidgeting would begin.
There is not only no silence on the outside but there is little silence on the inside. Most of us have not learned how to shut off the voice in our heads. Since we have been so little exposed to quieting that voice it requires time and effort to learn how to do it. We decide that we want to try meditation and we can’t seem to settle and so we quit. It really is difficult to meditate in the beginning on your own. It is so much easier if there is a voice directing you. There are many Amazon Alexa apps that will take you through a meditation but even those aren’t always enough.
The best meditation I ever did was in a group with someone walking you quietly through the process. A really good leader can help you explore more depths that almost any other way. I have not found many meditation experiences except in yoga classes and most of them don’t meditate long enough for you to get into the place where you can let everything go.
I am hoping to start a group but I don’t know if I will have any takers. It remains to be seen.
A “better” world is one in which we recognize that all people possess an incomparable value that we are morally obliged to respect . . . in social, political, and economic terms. Honoring the humanity of your fellow beings means that if they are hungry, ill, or oppressed, you must exert yourself to help them. . . . But this . . . runs up against our inherited instincts of self-protection, greediness, and desire to dominate others. . . . If we could rearrange energy from within—if we more often nurtured our companions and promoted their well-being, we would suffer much less. Rearranging energy from within is what mysticism does. Dr. Beatrice Bruteau (1930–2014)
This quote from the meditation of Richard Rohr really speaks to what we must do to make the world a better place. Each of us has to dig deep and find that core of humanity that allows us to respect all beings.
She is so right. Our own instincts of survival, both physically and mentally, get in our way and keep us from becoming the humans we can be. She is calling us to seek that inner place where we meet the intangible, infinite spirit….no matter what we call it.
f and why I struggle to spend more time in silence
I have always been a fan of the mystics. They have such a deep connection with the “unknowable.” This piece by Richard Rohr has helped me to see that my thinking is totally non-linear and more in sync with the mystics. I have never seen things as totally right or wrong, left or right. I have always had an issue with totally scientific thinking. I don’t think it is wrong I just think that there is more. There is the intangible piece that I see (much more dimly than the true mystics). I think most of us have had a moment when the “unknowable” has broken through and we see “beyond.” It is what I seek to see more of and why I struggle to spend more time in silence and meditation and listening. In order to “see” more I am the one who must reach out.
and meditation and listening. In order to “see” more I am the one who must reach out.
“When I use the word “mystical” I am referring to experiential knowing instead of just intellectual, textbook, or dogmatic knowing. A mystic sees things in their wholeness, connection, and union, not only their particularity. Mystics get a whole gestalt in one picture, beyond the sequential and separated way of seeing that most of us encounter in everyday life. In this, mystics tend to be closer to poets and artists than to linear thinkers. Obviously, there is a place for both, but since the European Enlightenment of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, there has been less and less appreciation of such seeing in wholes. The mystic was indeed considered an “eccentric” (off center), but maybe mystics are the most centered of all, which leads them to emphasizing love as the center, the goal, and the motivating energy of everything.
The word mystic is not a title of superiority. It’s rather that mystics see things differently. Mystics are nondual seers. They don’t think one side is totally right and the other side is totally wrong. They can see that each side has a part of the truth. When people on either side of any contentious issue cannot love one another, it means they don’t have the big message yet.” Richard Rohr
Today I went back and read some of my original posts. I had a plan for this journey. I wanted to find a way to accept what comes each day and to learn new ways of coping. In some things I have done well in others not so much.
I have managed to spend more time in the “now.” I am more aware of each day than I have ever been. I have made daily prayer a habit. I have always prayed in erratic moments but now I also pray intentionally at the end of each day. This has worked for me and allows me to explore the events of the day in a different way. It is a time for contemplation.
I have not done as well with meditation. I can’t seem to get into a pattern or keep to any kind of a schedule. My past experiences taught me that meditation works best when it is practised consistently. This is something I want to improve.
Life is all about changing ourselves to better manage our place in the world. The world is not going to change for us. We are the only ones in our control. We have to continually work to understand how we react to what happens in our lives.
It is so easy to say that I know what to do and so hard to actually do it. I will continue to fight the struggle that some things are for me and work to truly immerse myself in changing. The struggle will remain until I am no longer on this earth but that is being alive. There are always challenges but we can move forward each day.
This week I have been on a bread baking binge. I’m not sure why but there is something therapeutic about it. I don’t use a mixer with a dough hook so I spend time folding the dough. It feels so good in your hands and gets rid of any frustration. I continually learn how to make different and better breads.
I made sourdough with garlic and rosemary, a normal white bread and a breakfast bread with brown sugar and cinnamon on top. I won’t eat all of these but will share them with friends and neighbors.
It is a process learning what things give you satisfaction and peace. I do love baking but don’t need to be eating all of it. I am also not interested in making things to sell. I just enjoy the process.
I have been working at doing the things I need to do to maintain my peace of mind. Things happen always but we can get through if we have developed habits that help us. The past week have been trying on several levels but I am moving one.
Persistence is, for me, the most important thing. I can be such a procrastinator…putting things off and not doing what I should. It is so much easier to find something distracting…like watching the Great British Baking Show….than meditating. But if I don’t I suffer for it.
Keeping on track is so important. Keep working at it!
I love the mystics. Not just the Christian ones but any of them. Buddha, Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, Joan of Arc, Julian of Norwich, Hildegard von Bingen, Confucius are just some of them. They are so focused. They spend time connecting with everything beyond themselves. Their understanding about what really matters is clear.
I wish that I spent the time in meditation and silence that would bring me even a little closer to their link with “everything.” To be so synced with the universe and our role in it would be wonderful.
I have experienced small amounts of this in the past and want to connect again. It is so hard to disconnect with everything going on around me. I continue to try and hope that I can find this kind of connection again. I will need to push to maintain a schedule until it becomes a habit.
At the beginning of this blog I wrote about my journey to worry less. I had wonderful plans for ways to be more prepared for the times when anxiety crops up and takes control of my life. The thing is I have not followed my plan. During this time of relative peace I have let it go. Knowing what is at stake I really have to get with the program. My meditation, prayers etc. don’t take that long why do I shy away from them?
Spending quiet time with yourself is not easy. It can be so revealing of things about ourselves we don’t want to know. I know someone who says that he can never quiet his mind and that it causes so much stress. We do have to learn to experience meditation and silence long enough to get the mind to quiet. It takes time and effort.
It is just that silence and quieting of the mind that can make the most impact. In discovering ourselves the important thing to remember is that the past is past. What we do today…in this moment….is what really matters.
God is always with us in the silence. We spend so much time talking to God that we forget to listen for him in the silence. Maybe the reason we don’t hear him speak more is that we don’t listen.