This week I heard it one more time and something inside me said ‘STOP’! “Silence makes me depressed”. “Silence and solitude….” and then she shuddered. I’ve heard it so many times. People pull away from contemplative practices. Why? Why do they sign up for yoga retreats but not for Contemplative Fire or for contemplative retreats within a Christian tradition? Why will they learn a new language of Sanskrit, chant in words they don’t know but not join a reflective service? Why?
When I was in a contemplative group the other day and a member said how her husband found silence depressing, I found myself stirred inside, some frustration stirred, some deeper anger, some hurt and some sadness. I observed a messy little stew pot of emotions emerge within me! I have found my twenty-five plus years within the contemplative world to be deeply healing. I’ve learnt how to face my negative emotions and move beyond them. Fundamentally I’ve experienced the LOVE of God, the deep, deep love of God that holds and sustains my life. Has it all been easy? No, much of it has been hard work, but it’s been wonderful. It is now my life passion to help other people find their own healing path. I offer the contemplative path and I grieve when it is dismissed as depressive. The door is slammed shut. ‘No thanks. Don’t want any.’ Slam.
As I pondered that perspective and my own response to it, I heard Silence/Solitude/Contemplative Practices being blamed for the person’s depression. I realized it that was a common response I’ve heard over the years. “It’s too difficult. It’s too scary. I don’t know what will come to my mind if I’m still. It makes me nervous.” I’ve heard so many responses like that, but suddenly, this morning I realized that those people are blaming the contemplative practices for their emotional response. It’s like me blaming my husband for my anger. I’m responsible for my angry response not him. if he behaves in a way that provokes my anger, well it’s my feelings and I’m responsible for learning from my reaction and caring for myself.
How come people can blame the contemplative practices for their feelings and get away with it? The practices of silence or solitude or meditation or imaginary prayer or (insert any contemplative practice)… are not the problem. The inability to accept responsibility for our own feelings and reactions is the problem. Too much of our church life is directed by people who aren’t willing to own their own feelings and do their work, do The Work of maturing spiritually, of following Jesus. Too much of our world is also led by people who won’t do their work.
I see the problem more clearly today, but I don’t see the solution. Right now, I hold it in the presence of our Loving, Omnipresent God. I want to be able to put my foot in the door and not let them slam it shut.
How do you respond?
Love and prayers
Mystic in Motion
Founder, Contemplative Fire Canada
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2 thoughts on “Why this World is the Way it is….”
Well, I’ve been thinking all day… since this morning. And, since I have permission to explore and perhaps change my mind …. I am wondering ……
1.) If church leaders in the ‘large’ church provide a venue for church leaders (and, others interested) to learn about it. And explore and practice.
2.) related to this – but, entirely …
I saw an ad for a Buddhist retreat in Toronto … on meditation! It really interested me- (at first)-
Mindfulness, visioning and so on …. but…. something missing…
i believe in always having room to change my mind! if i couldn’t change, how would i grow? our little ones grow out of clothes quickly and we don’t fuss, yet as adults we often struggle with letting go of view we held when we were ‘little’. — so explore away my friend! i like being curious about how i respond to things, why i react to some people or events and not others…. what was appealing about the retreat? what was missing?