Adventures of the Spiritual Life
by Judith Lawrence (reprinted with permission June 22, 2011)
“Recollection,” says Evelyn Underhill, “is the traditional term by which mystical writers define the voluntary concentration, a first collecting or gathering in of the attention of the self to its most hidden cell. That self is as yet unacquainted with the strange plane of silence which so soon becomes familiar to those who attempt even the lowest activities of the contemplative life, where the self is released from [constant thought], and the noises of the world are never heard, and the great adventures of the spirit take place.” Mysticism Page 212.
We have to gather ourselves in to the centre of our being in order to prepare ourselves for the contemplative life. This is where we find the silent place where God dwells in us. Silence is not a familiar place for many of us but as we seek to be with God silence becomes a sought after and familiar venue.
First we must turn off the outward noises that may surround us—the radio, the T.V., the telephone, the cell phone—we get so used to these being a part of our life that we may be afraid we might miss something if we turn these things off. But, when our prayer time is finished and we turn these sound makers back on we will soon catch up on any missed communications.
During our tryst with God, even our thoughts need to be quieted. We may not be aware of how much our brain chatters on in continuous thought as we go about our tasks, but when we come to be with God in contemplation we become very aware of how our thoughts get in the way of just being with God.
Don’t fret about it; just keep returning to the silence where you desire to be with God and God desires to be with you. It will happen; it takes preparation, time, and practice.
Judith is a Professional member of The Word Guild and author of two non-fiction books, Prayer Companion: A Treasury of Personal Meditation, and Glorious Autumn Days: Meditations for the Wisdom Years, as well as one book of mystical poetry, Grapes from the Vine. Judith writes a monthly meditation, which can be found on her website: www.judithlawrence.ca. Judith’s latest spiritual book, Highway of Holiness: Soul Journey is now available. You can purchase it through Wipf and Stock Publishers.