A lot of the reading I have done lately has addressed the need to explore and find life at a deeper level. Most recently, I have been reading a book by David Brooks entitled The Road to Character (Random House, 2015). While not a specifically religious book, it does seem to explore a lot of the spiritual dimensions of life. Brooks is an op-ed columnist for The New York Times, teaches at Yale, and appears on various television “news magazines."
At one point, he writes about the relatively recent forms and forces of communication that have become “faster and busier.” While Brooks does not believe (as some do) that social media is having a ruinous effect on society, he is concerned. He says, "It is harder to attend to the soft, still voices that come from the depths. Throughout human history, people have found that they are most aware of their depths when they are on retreats, during moments of separation and stillness, during moments of quiet communion.”
He suggests we must quiet the external self in order to hear the deeper voices (of God?) within. In another context, he writes, “Only by quieting the self can you be open to the external sources of strengths you will need.”
Richard Rohr says something similar in his wonderful book, Falling Upward. Rohr also suggests that each of us needs to find time for receiving the mysteries of life in order to truly be alive. Rohr writes often and at length about those who retreated to the desert in Christian history to find God.
Perhaps we spend too much time creating “selfies” rather than expending valuable energy exploring the self God has created us to be.
You and I probably cannot retreat to the desert or spend inordinate blocks of time in “aloneness” with God. But we can quietly and fervently pray each day, “Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.” We can reach out daily with the prayer/hymn, “Breathe on me breath of God.” We can discipline ourselves to be quiet some of the time to hear the “still small voice” that calls us to a higher plane of life, to a deeper sense of life’s Ultimate Reality, and to particular forms of service.
And we can lead from that discipline.