At mass this morning our pastor's homily spoke of some of Henri Nouwen's thoughts. By the way, if you have never read any of Nouwen's books, treat yourself. His writings are profound, thought provoking. But on to the homily.
...To really get in touch with the Almighty, we need to listen. But there is so much talking going on within us that it is hard to listen. It' s as if we have an inner debate going on most of the time.How can we cease that inner banter...
Now perhaps you have mastered turning off the debate(s), but I must say I have to work very hard sometimes (a lot of the time actually) to turn off the sounds within. Can't very well do it driving somewhere or watching TV or being on the computer. We need silence in order to tap into the inner silence.
I remember my Sociology course in college......the professor looked every bit like he was an Ivy to Leaguer....but, he was waaaaaaaaaay out there. One of the exercises he wanted us to do was to sit in a quiet room for five minutes, concentrating on the air entering and leaving our nostrils. We were to do this several times and then write a paper on the experience. Sure. Right.
I was already married and had four children when I took the course. WHEN and WHERE was I to go to accomplish this....in a closet? No they'd still find me. (Children have a strong intuition when mom suddenly disappears after having just been there telling them to make their beds.). Somehow I managed to do the exercise a few times. Ah, but THEN there was the paper about the experience. Hmm, so do I tell him what I really thought of it or do I make something up? After all, my grade might depend on it. It didn't take me long to decide I would be truthful and tell him I thought it was ridiculous.....I mean, come on, Prof, "air entering and leaving my nostrils??!" Riiiiiiiiight. Imagine my surprise when he read my paper aloud (sans my name), using it as an example of how most people perceive the assignment. Whew! Safe.
Since then I have experienced the art of "centering"...breathing slowly and deeply, concentrating only on the breath, feeling a peace like no other.....AND being able to "listen." Is it always easy? No. When it does "happen" and the inner voice stops talking....in those few seconds or minutes....I meet the Almighty.
Perhaps this week's challenge could be to try to "connect" more by silencing the chatter within..... I wish you peace. Be gentle with yourselves in all that you do.