Settle yourself in solitude, and you will come upon God in yourself. ~ St. Teresa of Avila
Solitude – we live in such a hustle-bustle world that solitude and quiet can seem hard to come by. It can be challenging to find true silence. Everywhere there is noise assailing us: on video screens in the grocery store’s check-out line; from people’s cellphone conversations; traffic noise; children playing; radios and TV blaring. Many of us have difficulty finding a place of solitude when there are children to care for, jobs to do, errands to run. I know of folks who always have the TV or radio on to have “background noise.” Many people feel uncomfortable and squirmy in silence.
Silence provides peace and calm to the spirit. It can have a physical effect, lowering blood pressure, tension and anxiety. (Listen to loud, raucous music for a few minutes, then turn it off. You can almost feel your body say “aaaaahhh …”) Silence allows us to go within to hear the voice of the Divine. The voice of the Divine doesn’t yell and jump up and down to get our attention. It doesn’t shout; it whispers … gently, in our hearts. Yes, it’s also present in each moment of our day-to-day lives, but when we want to really touch and engage with our Divine consciousness, it can be best to find a quiet place of solitude, free from any distractions.
To find her quiet place, a friend spent time sitting under a Banyan tree each day to reflect and to write. A friend in Hawaii swam with the turtles. My mother used to sit in her big upholstered rocking chair, rosary beads in her hands, her children playing around her, eyes closed, lost in the ecstasy of prayer. Jesus often went off by himself to pray, out in the wilderness, up on a mountain, to a “lonely place.” When my ex-husband left us, I went to the beach nearly every day, just sitting and watching the waves come in and go out, gaining peace from just being in a quiet place and feeling the presence of the Divine with me, making me feel safe and Loved.
The act of solitude—of removing oneself from the distractions and chaos—gives us a quiet place to Be, to listen, to hear the voice of the Divine whispering in our hearts. It might be out on a hike, pausing to quietly gaze at the natural creation around us. Or on the ocean on a surfboard, bobbing up and down in rhythm with the waves. On a beach, in a garden, in a park, in a quiet place at home.
We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness.
God is the friend of silence. ~ Mother Teresa
Each morning, I spend those first quiet minutes in bed feeling the energy of Love in my life. I awaken happy and joy-filled, connecting with the Divine consciousness present in all of life—in the trees outside my window, in the chattering of the squirrels, in the light of the day. Afterward, I sit quietly on the floor, breathing full, deep, lung-filled breaths at first, then just sitting. Nothing to do, nothing to undo. Just sit and Be. In those quiet moments I can best hear the Divine whispering in my heart, starting my day.
How do you find peace and solitude in your life?