Posts Tagged ‘quiet’

Waiting In Silence

January 11, 2017

For God alone, my soul waits in silence. — Psalm 62:1 and 62:5

Two things are difficult–waiting and silence.

Try doing them at the same time. It’s enough to drive the modern person to drink.

Hermann Hesse was called the first modern writer. His characters might have lived alone, but they needed noise. For example, the first thing the main character of Steppenwolf did when he entered his apartment was turn on the radio. He needed noise as a distraction.

Imagine Hesse writing today. Constant distraction. Does that smart phone ever leave your hand? Some people wear their Apple Watch or FitBit to bed. I wonder if the alerts wake them constantly.

We end a Yoga class lying on our backs on our mats in meditation usually called “Final Relaxation.” I’ve been teaching for years. I’ve seen many people who can settle into deep relaxation for those six precious minutes. Others fidget so much I fear they will wear out their mats.

A psychologist instructed a patient to go home, find a quiet place where he could be alone, and just spend an hour a day quietly by himself.

At the next session, the psychologist asked how it went. “Oh, I played around with my violin some. Picked up a book and read.”

“No,” the psychologist said, “I want you to sit quietly by yourself. Doing nothing. Not planning tomorrow. Just waiting quietly.” The man could not bear to be with himself. No wonder the family couldn’t bear to be with him either.

Waiting?

How will you hear God’s whispers or feel his nudges if you are noisy, distracted, and busy? 

Your soul needs to be fed. It likes silently waiting for God.

Nobody’s Right If Everybody’s Wrong

August 31, 2016

Nobody’s right, if everybody’s wrong. –Buffalo Springfield

Phone rang. It was a soccer referee I had assigned to a match. It was 20 minutes before kickoff.

“Gary, I have a problem, they don’t want to give me the check for the game. I’m just going to pack up and go home.”

Then while I’m still on the phone listening, he proceeds to argue with people at the game. He is angry. They are angry. I’m sitting there 35 miles away, listening, thinking this is all just so much nonsense. Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong.

It’s the first week plus a day of the soccer season. This is the fourth one of these conflicts I’ve dealt with. Almost no complaints about on-field work. Referees are “shooting themselves in the foot” before the game even begins.

In Ayurveda, there is a concept called pitta. It is the mind body type of the element of fire. Environments can be pitta, as well. Our temperatures in western Ohio this summer have been around or over 90 deg F constantly. It is again today. Heat provokes emotions–anger. And we are getting it.

I am, by the way, a pitta mind-body type. I’ve spent a life calming and cooling down. Now I try to be the calming influence. The Zen Master is what people called me at one job.

And I thought that we have so much of this in our world right now. Heat. Emotion. Anger. Hatred. The whole world needs a cooling and calming.

Where Buffalo Springfield sang, “Stop children, what’s that sound? Everybody look what’s going down.”

I would answer, “Stop children, let’s calm down, everybody breathe and slow it down.”

How do we hear God’s voice and leading if we’re too busy shouting?

Take a deep breath, hold, release, “Ahhh.” Don’t you feel better?

The Art and Rhetoric of Silence

March 15, 2016

Politicians have to talk. That’s what they do. (To borrow from the current Geico commercials.)

Today’s newspaper carried what journalists like to call an analysis–that things presidential front runners (newspapers also love that term-they turn political contests into long term horse races to maintain our interest and readership) have said in the past are coming back to bite them.

I could make that analysis with a “Well, duh…”

Yesterday I pondered the phenomenon where you can talk, and the more you talk the more you work yourself up, until you reach some sort of height of anger.

The thoughts came because of some study and thinking on the spiritual discipline of silence.

Scientists have pointed out that children learn more from how we act than from what we tell them.

Dallas Willard wrote, “In witnessing, the role of talking is frequently overemphasized.”

Sometimes how we act screams “Liar” as we try to tell people something–especially about things such as love, joy, peace.

Sometimes just being with someone in silence is better than talking.

Being of service to others is a stronger witness than telling people to be servants.

People watch us talk about others and wonder, “Gee, I wonder what they say about me when I’m not around.”

When I was an adolescent, I was quiet. People thought I was smart. I never opened my mouth enough to prove them wrong.

Sitting in silence for an hour or spending a day in silence is a challenge greater than public speaking for most. Try it sometime. Maybe regularly. Let your actions speak. See what happens both in your soul and in others.