Thirst For Inner Stillness
I believe there is a great thirst for silence in our world. I teach centering prayer at churches in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, area, and people come, wanting to learn more. They ask, “Is there another way to pray? How does it work? Why should I try it? How can it help me?”
Why do people yearn for silence? After all, silence seems impossible to achieve. There are always noises around us. In our homes we hear the sounds of the air conditioner or heater. The dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer run; clocks tick; television and radio send their voices out into the air. Many people say they need white noise in the background. Some people cannot fall asleep without the television.
I believe the thirst for silence is not a longing for the absence of sound. Instead, it is a thirst for inner stillness, a thirst to stop the incessant interior thoughts and commentaries. This interior dialogue repeats things like this: “I am not loved. I am not confident. I am not good enough. I could have done a better job. I am not happy. I am bored. I am afraid to try new things. Don’t pick me, I can’t do this. I am jealous.” We desperately want to stop this dialogue. We want to hear a different Voice, the Voice that says, “I love you. You can be confident. You are good enough. You do a great job. I am all you need to be happy. You no longer need to feel bored. I have new plans for you.”
I am not just writing here about positive self-talk, although that can be highly beneficial. What I’m describing is a connection with a deep down profound affirmation of the substance of our being. We are hardwired for intimacy with God, and when we find it, we naturally come to embody a deeply rooted confidence, stability, and positivity.
God waits for us in the silence, so we don’t need to fear it. In the depths of silence God will speak to us. Silence teaches us who we are. We can trust the silence.
A silent-prayer practice such as centering prayer is one path that can help us hear the Voice of God in Christ. Christian meditation and prayer labyrinths can also help us hear. There are many contemplative paths that will open us to God’s Voice. Each person will need to find the one or more paths that work best for their individual circumstances. My path is centering prayer sprinkled with lectio divina and photography. You’ll need to find your own unique path.
Rich Lewis is an author, speaker and coach who focuses on centering prayer as a means of inner transformation. His book, Sitting with God: A Journey to Your True Self Through Centering Prayer (288 pages) is available now.
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