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I would be interested to know how many practice silence, solitude, meditation and contemplative prayer. How many are interested in the mystics, Theresa of Avila, etc. Also, are there any spiritual directors in the group? I am a spiritual director, educated through Center for Spiritual Development in Orange, CA and Loyola-Marymount in Los Angeles. I am a part of the Good Shepherd Center for Spiritual Direction in El Cajon, CA. I look forward to hearing from you.
Silence, solitude, meditation and contemplative prayer - all seem to weave in and out of my day to day praying, particularly during the "night watches." I have read many of the mystics, often stumbling over archaic sentence structure and unfamiliar vocabulary, but the effort has always been worth it to me.
One of the lessons I have taken from the mystics is that I do not have to remove myself from my life in order to find Him and to become refreshed. I'm sure there is benefit from a guided retreat, but as a single mother raising three small children, I needed to find those moments in the midst of chaos - like Brother Lawrence did while washing pots and pans, or as Jeanne Guyon did in so many ways.
My favorite "spiritual retreat" is one that is unplanned - on vacation with family in the mountains, waking before dawn and walking to the lake to watch as God draws curtains of mist aside, revealing His glorious creation. When these channels of contemplation are charted into our souls, we can find silence and solitude on a busy commuter bus, thereby leaving droplets of His grace and mercy in our wake.
Hi Kimberly; you are absolutely right and it sounds like you have found ways to immerse yourself into nature where you find rest and refreshment, as well as finding God in the midst of a busy life as a single mom of three. That is where you can truly follow the lead of Brother Lawrence, your life is definitely a ministry of love and care as a mom. Do you attend a church where you can share and discuss the mystics? I know for many people that is not an option for them. I, fortunately attend a United Methodist Church that has a pastor who loves the mystics, silence and solitude and all of the benefits thereof. I am particularly blessed because I work side by side with him six days a week and that adds strength to my soul. Thanks so much for responding, I appreciate it and would welcome your comments any time. God's richest blessings upon you, Kimberly. Barbara
I have enjoyed reading the devotional classics by Richard Foster. The book has excerpts of these authors you mentioned.
The main reason of my desire of solitude is that I am often the victim of ‘tyranny of the urgent’- being alone with God for me has gradually diminished, and I missed it.
Thanks for your insightful spiritual directives, please continue to post road-maps that could lead to deeper knowledge of Father, fuller grace of Christ, and rich sanctification of Spirit.
Then, I believe, we as His beloved, could become His workmanship in every good work bearing eternal fruit; obedient to His command which are not burdensome, then to see & taste that He is good.
Barbara Dixon said:
Hi Jen; so great to hear from someone, thanks for your reply and interest. If you love Keating and Nouwen you are on the right 'contemplative' track; Keating more than Nouwen. Keating is actually one of our contemporary leaders, even though he is now deceased. Your interest is the key for you to open this exploration. Have you read any of the mystics; i.e. Theresa of Avila, Terese of Liseaux, Evelyn Underhill who is also deceased,but a contemporary. Have you read St John of the Cross, that is a heavy one. I have been a follower for years and am still a seeker as I am fascinated by the spirituality of these people. I am a double certified spiritual director through The Center for Spiritual Development (Sisters of St Joseph of Orange, CA), as well as Loyola Marymount Univ. This also fuels my interest. I don't know what part of the country you live in but there are centers everywhere. You just need to be careful and check them out, unfortunately, even in matters of the Spirit there are those who seek their own agenda. Would love to carry on a conversation and I do look forward to hearing from you again.
Using self-hypnosis for mind-blanking is a good way to open yourself up to unclean spirits. Our conscious mind is a natural barrier to unclean spirits. Satan's minions must get you to suppress your mind to get in. They can give you 'good' feelings, but those won't last. We are seeing Yoga and shamanism coming into the church this way.
The Bible uses the word "meditate", meaning to contemplate on scripture and its application. It does not mean mind-blanking or endless repetition of a word until your mind shuts down.
Thank you Tim R. for speaking into this discussion. Satan is sooo deceptive. Anything not purely taught in scripture is so dangerous. The massive wave of 'spiritualism' entering the church is very scary. Thank God for His Word to us so clear about keeping immersed in the Word.