I know people who are in the same place on their spiritual journey as they were 30 years ago. Not much of a journey, huh!? It’s like running on a treadmill while all the time thinking you’re running cross country. You think you’re progressing because the scenery around you changes constantly. But what matters most, your own soul, is stuck right where it was many years ago.[featured-image single_newwindow=”false”]
Are you stuck in your journey with God? If you spend more time concerned about the condition of politics, family, church, finances, diet/food, children, reputation, building your business, and success than the condition of your own soul, you’re stuck. The evidence that you are stuck is your preoccupation with many things.
How do you become “unstuck?” By doing the one thing necessary – go to your heart where God resides. Or as George Maloney says: “Paradoxically, the ascent toward God begins with a descent into oneself.”
As long as you live in your mind, thinking about so many things, you will make little progress on your journey to know God and your own soul. When you travel inward, a whole new world opens up to you. And, as you become comfortable in this inner world, your thoughts about the outer world slowly become transformed. This is called progress, growth, maturity, and living. Jesus called it living in the Kingdom. This is what you are to “seek first” (Matthew 6.33). This kind of living is to be your highest priority. In this place, you never get stuck.
Dr. Meletios Webber, our tour guide, writes:
The heart experiences the Kingdom of heaven, although at this time in the fallen state, in shadow rather than in light. Within the Kingdom there is no time, simply eternity – or more plainly, only “now.”…The very atmosphere of the Kingdom is love and life and peace, and these have no opposites; they are absolute. They are the love of God, eternal life, and the peace of God which is beyond understanding.
The Way Into This Kingdom is Silence
The language of the heart is silence – not a bleak, empty silence, but a profound and meaningful silence that ceaselessly sings the glory of God.
As with the prophet Elijah, part of our spiritual path is to come to an awareness that God is not in the earthquake, the wind, or the fire, where we expect Him to be. God is in the sound of silence (1 Kings 19.12). We listen to this silence by becoming intensely present by listening to the silence…[in a state] of being completely ready, completely alert, totally conscious. When we are lost in thought (so often mistaken for a deeply prayerful state), we are not alert, present, or aware. We cannot be any of those things until we go beyond the mind, seeking a deeper and yet deeper silence indicative of the presence of God.
How to Enter Silence of the Heart
It is simple yet difficult. Begin small – 5 minutes/day. Expect a wondrous struggle since you are entering your heart which has barely been functioning and you are taming your thoughts which are used to governing.
- Establish a place of solitude
- Utilize a lit candle to help focus your heart and mind
- Control your mind with prayer – “Lord, have mercy.”
- Gently, as you are able, unite your mind with your heart
This has been the way for Christians to quiet the thoughts and enter the kingdom of silence were God dwells since the first centuries. This is the teaching of Jesus (Mt. 5.3, 8; Lk 17.21). Others followed – read the Desert Fathers and Mothers.
The invitation is for you to do the same…and never get stuck on your spiritual journey again.