The Lonely Place

Jesus told his disciples to ‘come away to a lonely place and rest a while.’ In the fourth of my extracts from James Roose-Evans’ book: Finding Silence, James invites us to adventure into aloneness:

“…Loneliness is essential to the human condition and each of us has to learn how to come to terms with it. Learning to Meditate is part of this process. I think it was the Venerable Chogyam Trungpa, one of those who brought Buddhism to the West, who said that meditation should be boring – as boring as possible. Because only in intense boredom are all our habitual responses and concepts dissolved. The mind has a terror of boredom and loneliness for it suspects that by means of such an intense experience another level of reality may be reached that will threaten its pretensions. And so, rather than face monotony, boredom and loneliness, we fill up every conceivable hour with activity in order to prop up our fragile sense of identity and imagined usefulness. Social, domestic, professional, sensual and trivial activities crowd out the possibility of any empty spaces within us, or of an encounter, like that of Jacob, with a dark angel who has come to wound us so that we may be healed. We are so impatient for activity that we do not know how to contain our restlessness within a nave of silence….

“…And so those words of St Augustine continue to resound across the centuries: ‘Thou, O lord, hast made us for Thyself and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee.’…

“…Paradoxically it is those who have learned to be alone with their aloneness who draw others to them. The Desert Fathers, the holy men and women of India in their caves and ashrams, Mother Julian in her cell in Norwich, Pere de Foucauld in the desert, Abhishiktananda in his cave at Arunachala, the Little Brothers and Sisters of Jesus in their cells in city and country, all ermits and achorites everywhere, and many ordinary people, speak to our society in a way that is urgently needed. Solitary in their caves, alone with the Alone, they draw us gently to our true home as surely as migrating birds return to the place of their origin.”

Saturday 12th October is a time for you to step out of the bustle and find silence at my one-day retreat, based on James Roose-Evans book, at the Bleddfa Centre. Moreancient-antique-architectural-design-2407761 here

To read more of this chapter and the rest of Finding Silence, you can buy it from Amazon, or at the Bleddfa Centre.

The Open-Eyed Meditation

In the second of my extracts from James Roose-Evans’ book: Finding Silence, James offers a way that enables us to stay inwardly connected in the outward world.

It was for one extremely busy man who worked in the Foreign Office that, he says:

‘I devised what I have come to call The Open-Eyed Meditation…I suggested that he take the words ‘Thou, O Lord, art in the midst of us’ and say them mentally, over and over, while keeping his eyes open as he walked to get the train in the morning, being aware of his surroundings, of the other people travelling on the train; aware of animals, buildings, the quality of light, of the weather, knowing that God is in everything.

To busy to be. Photo by Jose Martin Ramirez

And then at intervals throughout the day, perhaps when dealing with a difficult colleague, that he keep repeating these words mentally. While nurturing our inner flame we need also to look with open eyes at everything; not only at the outer world but also at our prejudices, our animosities, our judgmental attitudes toward others, our resistances, our laziness, to see how egoistic most of us are, how we manipulate others to get our way.

‘Looking in but looking out. So many of us dash through each day without stopping to look about us: to observe the pigeon on the railway platform scrabbling for crumbs, the tired woman in front of us returning home after a night shift, or a fractious child: for all the world is my neighbour. We are all involved. It is no good shutting our eyes twice a day in meditation if it is regarded as a retreat from the reality that is all around us.’

Saturday 12th October is a time for you to step out of the bustle and find silence at my one-day retreat, based on James Roose-Evans book, at the Bleddfa Centre. More here

To read more of this chapter and the rest of Finding Silence, you can buy it from Amazon, or at the Bleddfa Centre.