“Be still, and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10
One of the toughest challenges I have is to find time that is quiet and contemplative. My biggest tendency is to run from one thing to the other, and collapse at the end of the day (whenever I decide that is). The only guaranteed time of stillness I seem to get is in that first 20 minutes of a plane flight where you have to sit still and refrain from using electronic devices. This is not the most relaxed I can be given a fear of flying that hasn’t eroded even after doing it constantly as part of my work life for over 10 years. (although it is leaning me towards writing a leaflet entitled – The application of the Jesus Prayer to take-off and landing – but that is a topic for another day).
No matter when it is or where I am, I always seem to have a million things buzzing around my head. Many of them are just plain useless trivia, some of them part of an orbital to-do list, others worries relevant or obtuse. At the end of it I just cant find a way to escape the buzz inside my brain.
Sure, I have found a few escapes that are spiritually pointless. The first is turning on the TV in the hotel room or home and tuning out to something irrelevant (often overdubbed in a language I don’t understand). I have had an occasional piece of therapy which involved 1 glass of single malt whisky to be sipped for the duration of 1 good jazz CD, which probably has a little more value.
But what I am really after is that inner silence, that way of feeling close to God. Often at times when I am devoid of a good attitude or ability to pray solidly I will pray the Jesus Prayer, but I have never taken a very consistent approach to it; adding a prayer rope’s worth to preparation prayers for Holy Communion is about as far as I have come.
There are no exotic presumptions with this desire; I am not looking to be a monastic (my wife might object to that to some extent 😉 ) nor do I aim for any extreme mystical experience – really just to be able to feel more of that peace and joy I experience serving at the Divine Liturgy at other times of my day / month / week.
Where to start? I have recently tripped over a book call the “Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer” which by chance was an easy purchase / download to my Kindle. I also have “The Way of a Pilgrim” which is a good simple read. I know all the traps – don’t try this at home without spiritual guidance, take things slowly etc etc.
So the plan from today is to read these two books and have a chat with my Priest.