Instead, the practice of a contemplative is to enter a sort of suspended time in which he feels alone in the presence of God. “You could say the Centering Prayer in Grand Central station at 2 p.m.,” says Brother Horton. “I wouldn’t recommend it for a beginner, but I’ve done it. It’s like breathing.”
Today is 100 days in The Anchorage. It has been strange at times. And often I wonder what I am doing here. But it has been spiritually rewarding. Mass today was magnificent with a great sermon. And Jesus is present!!!!!
The image above is a crucifix that I have carried with me.
What is “leisure time”? The absolute beauty of my life is that it is filled with the luxury of silence. Not silence in the absence of noise. But silence is a personal choice to be in the presence of Jesus. So everything I do is done in the presence of Jesus – in the luxury of silence.
The solitary life – however it is defined – is about that luxury. It is the presence of Jesus.
I know this will be the first of many but, yes, crisis time: what on earth am I doing here? It has only taken 96 days.
I am peopled-out – I have had meetings that have overloaded me. I am trying to find silence (and prayer) between meetings rather than trying to fit the meetings into the time I have between silence (and prayer). I have had no time to sit. And when I sit, I think about the meetings or what I need to do. I am not sleeping well, maybe due to the weather. Nightmares and weird vivid dreams. I have had way too much sugar and am not eating well.
I would like a certain amount of anonymity but my ego is so big that I also would like a certain amount of fame. Or, in a less negative way, what if God has given me something to say? Experience teaches me that periods of depression are connected with deep insights. And that is happening.
Oh wow! This one I will answer. As Fat Boy Slim said, “Right here and right now”.
I am very happy where I am right now. I am not sure if it is a job or a calling?! But my life at the moment is pretty great. For the first time in my life, I am not waiting for a better day or waiting on another person. I am simply me right now.
I am trying to be content with “right now”. Sometimes I long for a past that I cannot make into a present; sometimes I wish for a future that is not yet nor may ever be. The reality is that I am still working on my mental health, my relationships, and my sense of “me”. But I have a context. Kierkegaard considers monasticism an “existential stance” – I guess that about says it all.
To be honest, I am a social media “watcher”. I like to see what other people are doing rather than “do” myself. I have Instagram, Facebook, TikTok. But I watch more than I add to the conversation. And, TikTok makes me laugh!
I have this blog. It is more like a journal than any attempt to communicate. The blog itself – the “stuff” behind the scene – serves a purpose in my life rather than the “information” (what does that mean?) that it communicates. BTW: I have changed the URL of the blog!
I am, however, planning a podcast: now what? Once I get over my self-doubt and confusion – should someone claiming to live a solitary life have a podcast? – I hope to record regularly. I have nothing to say but I think that the process itself will be helpful for me.
I love these prompts. My answer is always, “everything”. But doing comes from being. Could I be someone different? If I took the mistakes from the past and “fixed them”, would I still be me? Ok, the “me” is not fantastic or even mildly satisfactory.
I remember once speaking to a priest who complained that I was overly sensitive. This came in the midst of a conversation in which the priest lauded various positives. I remember saying to this priest that you cannot have the positives (of me) without the negatives.
SO, there are plenty of things I could do differently. But would I still be me?
I have been trying to organise some thoughts around the religious life. And I found this quote:
The liminal space is an invitation to surrender – an invitation to give over to something larger than self and trust that we will be held and supported with whatever we need in order to navigate the uncertainty. The degree to which we are comfortable or uncomfortable has to do with how we choose to be with what is happening. We can choose to fight against the liminal space and struggle, or to flow with it by listening, sensing, and responding.
Maybe the older mystical writers would call it “the cloud of unknowing”? There is a sense in which the religious life, or Christianity as a whole, is a “what if” life. I think the current Archbishop of Canterbury said that?!