“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence…We need silence to be able to touch souls.” – Mother Teresa
Of all that I am thankful for and all that I see as blessings from God, the capacity to reflect is at the top of the list. In the midst of a fast paced, multitasking, busy world, quiet, prayerful reflection and contemplation has been a huge gift in my life, and from what I have witnessed as a family member, friend, and spiritual director, it has been a gift in the lives of countless others as well.
The first step is in the ability and the choice to pause. Sometimes the first step can be the hardest, especially with all that goes on between work, family, and everyday life. However, experience has taught me that I need to make a conscious decision to pause on a regular basis. For when I am on the go, in motion, it is hard or even impossible at times, to notice what I am being called to, to be open to a change in course or a new road ahead, or simply to be aware of and grateful for God’s presence and the blessings all around me.
I cannot ponder in my heart and mind without first putting the brakes on, lowering the volume, slowing down, and sometimes, completely coming to a prolonged stop. It is in these quiet moments, where I find myself best able to take a step back, to take a breath, and to truly leave room to listen and to be attentive to the deepest stirrings of my soul; the meeting place within. It is in these moments, that I find myself most open and reflective. It is in contemplation that I come to see that it matters not whether I go to the left, to the right, up ahead, behind, or way over there, but that what matters most is my openness to God…to the Truth…to the best course of action, or inaction, in the eyes of God.
When I think back over my life, I feel gratitude for moments of prayerful reflection and contemplation, moments where through Divine grace, I was able to let go of any agenda or notions to which I may have been holding on to, whether consciously or subconsciously, and to be aware and open to whatever may be. I can see clearly that these moments have been ones in which I have felt a deep sense of unity with God and the world around me. I have also felt a deep sense of peace and joy, regardless of the situation, circumstances or what ended up happening. It has been through these moments of reflection, in giving prayerful pause and taking a step away, that I am able to remain centered and rooted in God, stepping back into the world without being overcome by it.