An Increased Awareness – 6 quotes from Annemarie S. Kidder’s book – The Power of Solitude: Discovering Your True Self in a World of Nonsense and Noise
by Mark Votava
1. Recognizing Christ in others and ourselves
“…we need to halt our activities, sit down, and see. When we stop identifying with our doing, we can begin being, and as we stop doing just for the sake of doing, we can begin communing and seeing the stranger as part of ourselves. In communing with one another, we let down our defenses and preconceived notions of reality. We receive the true presence of the other, and in doing so, we also receive the presence of Christ. Communing presupposes an act of solitude in which we allow both ourselves and others simply to be. And in that being, in that sacred solitude, we recognize Christ in others and ourselves.”
2. Seeking out and cultivating solitude
“Seeking out and cultivating solitude is a discipline for the benefit of the soul… Pursuing solitude… may cause discomfort, largely because it runs counter to the dictates of Western culture. Mass production and mass consumption can flourish only in a society that places value on having what the other has, having more of it, and ultimately fitting in. Bent on selling goods to the greatest number of people, the consumerist mentality objects to the individual and autonomous self and hence views with suspicion the state of being alone and separate.”
3. An increased awareness
“…the spiritual discipline of solitude, when practiced consistently, educates and nourishes our souls to grow into an increased awareness and experience of God’s constant presence, the fruits of which are inner happiness and peace.”
4. We long for eyes
“We long for eyes to see ourselves, others, and our God more clearly…”
5. Our task is to ask questions
“Our task is to ask questions that fit our height and weight, questions also that are not bigger than life but come in bite-size format. No one can answer for me or offer a one-size-fits-all tool that will magically fix everything. The question for me – at this point… in my journey, in my interconnectedness with others – will be a gauge, a barometer of my internal state. Rather than being a springboard toward resolution and a defined end, it is a tool to measure my state of awareness, my being awake to the blinding and binding ties, inviting utter honesty to myself and to the God who made me. No one has to know how I am doing with the answers, or whether I am finding any answers at all. What I am concerned with is opening myself up to see and understand what has driven me and what has kept me asleep.”
6. Taking note of our painful emotions
“Connecting with our soul means to take note of our painful emotions and to sit with them without resorting to distracting activity. Unfortunately our soul often works slowly while our minds rush ahead and look for immediate explanations for everything…”
How are we growing into an increased awareness in life?
My new book The Mystical Imagination: Seeing the Sacredness of All of Life (2015) is finally done! It is available on kindle and paperback!
“Our crowded, overly-consumed, hyper-active, digitally-addicted lifestyle is draining the life out of us. We are desperate to transcend the chaos and find a better way to live. We need a mystical imagination. Get ready to be transported into the depths of meaning as Votava breaks open the contemplative path and shows you how to live your life to the fullest.” Phileena Heuertz, author of Pilgrimage of a Soul: Contemplative Spirituality for the Active Life and founding partner, Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism
My first book The Communal Imagination: Finding a Way to Share Life Together (2014) is available on kindle and paperback also!
“Inside everyone there is a longing for community, to love and be loved. We are made in the image of a communal God. But in our hyper-mobile, individualistic, cluttered world… community is an endangered thing. And community is like working out – it takes work, sweat, discipline… without that our muscles atrophy. Everybody wants to be fit, but not too many people want to do the work to get there. Mark’s book is sort of a workout manual, helping you rediscover your communal muscles and start building them up slowly. It is an invitation to live deep in a shallow world.” Shane Claiborne, author and activist