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.

Finding Silence

Come to the Bleddfa Centre on Saturday 12th October for Finding Silence, a day retreat based on the book of that name by Bleddfa’s founder, James Roose-Evans.

From now until the retreat day, I will be featuring excerpts from James’s book. I hope you will find in it, as I have done, a medicine for the soul in busy and stressful times. Let it take you on a different journey…

Details about the retreat can be found here

How good are you?

words text scrabble blocks
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I have a list of words, I’ve recently discovered, that I like to think fit my personality. It’s quite long. Here is the start of it:

Good, kind, powerful, strong, intelligent, spiritual, generous, funny, interesting, brave, selfless, refined, right, calm….

You get the picture?

If I’m honest, it’s quite hard to maintain this all the time!

Unfortunately, I’ve also discovered that I have a second list. It’s not what I like to think fits me, but it is what I have the potential to be and am at times. It’s also long. It starts like this:

Bad, unkind, vulnerable, weak, stupid, materialistic, mean, dull, boring, timid, selfish, crass, wrong, angry…

You get that picture too?

The good news is, I don’t actually have to choose between List A and List B. They’re both part of what I am as a human being – surprise, surprise! How hard is it for us to accept that!

What a relief to be able to look at the second list and say, ‘Yes, I’m all of this, too’ – just not all the time.   And to say, ‘Yes, I can be the stuff in the first list – just not all the time.’ It’s enough to accept that I’m a work in progress.

Accepting the ‘shadow’ side of myself gives me a more honest and authentic place on which to stand and relate to myself and others.  I can relax from the fear of ‘getting it wrong’. Of course I’ll get it wrong. But this isn’t a fixed state to be judged by – just part of the flow. So when I look in the inner mirror, I don’t have to ‘breathe in’, metaphorically. I can say hello to my own self, just as I am, and start from there.

brown tabby cat peeking beside wall
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So I just invite you to let yourself off the hook from being perfect, and whatever it means to be ‘right’, and just be content to be human. It’s a very good, honest starting point for being more at ease with yourself and others. Good things follow!