A Noise Addicted World
by Mark Votava
Sometimes silence and solitude have seemed like a waste of time to me. I remember times when I could not be alone within myself or be silent to just listen. It was terrifying for me to practice this stuff. But I have been experimenting with silence and solitude for quite some time now finding it quite helpful in my life.
• Listening to all of life
We seem to have the hardest time with listening in everyday life. Listening to others, listening to God, listening to our lives, listening to the true self, listening to our environment, listening to our locality, listening to mystery; these become problematic if we are not present to silence and solitude together. There is so much noise all around us every day. It’s like we are addicted to noise and hurried activity a lot of the time.
• Liberation from the noise
God is calling us into the mystical imagination of silence and solitude as the body of Christ in the parish. We will not be able to embrace this silence and solitude without listening to the mystery and beauty in life. Listening to the mystery and beauty in life brings liberation from our noise addicted world. Rene Gerard says in his book The Scapegoat, “No one ever wants to listen…”
• Living into each moment
Do we really want to be listening to the mystery and beauty in life? Do we believe there is mystery and beauty in life? There is an abundance of mystery and beauty at each moment of our lives in the place we inhabit together.
• Practicing a presence
The mystery and beauty in life is all around us. It lives within us. We just have not trained ourselves to experience it. We have not practiced a presence to the mystery and beauty in life.
• The experience of mystery and beauty
But it still remains there and Christ is leading us to seek him through the experience of this mystery and beauty. We need to become a church that listens. Listening is the beginning of love.
• Seeking a posture of listening
Without listening, we lose our true selves. We lose our souls. We lose a connection with the practice of humility and grace. The mystical imagination seeks a posture of listening to the mystery and beauty in life.
• Being sustainable as a local community
Silence and solitude cultivates a listening within us to mystery and beauty. We cannot fear this silence and solitude anymore. It is essential if we are to be sustainable as a local community. Our locality will break down if this listening is not present within us.
How have you experienced the mystery and beauty in life through listening?