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‘We have the knowledge of speech but not of silence.’ T S Eliot The Rock

In our modern society people are increasingly losing their ability to recognise the need for silence and solitude in their lives. As the technological world advances with ever increasing speed, the pressure to be engaged in constant communication and the drive towards more and more productivity with recognisable and admirable results leaves little time to pause and breathe. The deep need that all human beings have to reconnect with themselves, to reassess lives and to think their own thoughts is barely recognised by some and completely lost to others. It would appear that increasingly there is a fear of silence and solitude. Both are to be avoided at all costs and even regarded with suspicion. The impact of such a loss on both individuals and society is huge and the effects far reaching. The blocking out of silence by noise in our society means the ability to remain with our own thoughts is a pattern lost at a very young age. The need for constant entertainment, activity and connection is encouraged both within the home environment, through the media and in the social and educational environments. The institution of the church is not immune to this. The place of silent prayer has been lost from our tradition. We need to rediscover the need for space in our own lives which we see modelled in Jesus who in the midst of his activity always took time to remove himself from the crowd to be with his Father.

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Pause. Do you see any difference between loneliness and solitude?
In what ways do we block silence and avoid solitude in our lives?
What do you consider could be the impact of loss of solitude on a) Society b) the individual?

Now think personally
What examples do you find in Scripture that suggest solitude may be a good idea?
How could this be an important aid for prayer and personal growth?
How might choosing at times to be inactive enhance my activity and relationships?

Now think practically.
How can I discover moments of solitude in my life?

Now practise.
Find a place to be alone for a few moments.
Switch off your phone, the radio, the television or computer.
Become aware of other sounds.

Become aware of your own body where you may be holding tension.
Become aware of your breathing.
As thoughts come and go, be aware of them but don’t give them attention.

Pray

Here I am, now, the whole of me.
And here you are, now, with me
Where I have been, You have been.
Where I will be, You will be there.

Remain quiet for 5 to 10 minutes or as long as you choose.

Close
I choose throughout today to remain each moment in you, Father.

 

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