February 12, 2012

desert monk wisdom

"Making spaces for stillness in our lives is neither selfish or self-serving. It helps us retreat from our usual responsibilities and patterns of activity in order to become better listeners. Today we are bombarded by the one-way and aggressive communication of the media and are losing our ability to listen. Conversation is threatened by increased polarity. Stillness guards our souls from over-activity and over-stimulation of mind and body that scatter our openness to God and our neighbor. Stillness helps our actions keep pace with our hearts, even in a few moments of a busy day. Rather than escaping from life, stillness reacquaints us with life and the Giver of life. Being in a place apart reminds us of the sacredness of life. Stillness is a fresh spring quenching our inner thirst for love of others, even our enemies."
"The desert monks realized the essential rhythm between solitude and community. Solitude and community were seen as complimentary, not competitive. This rhythm has atrophied in modern life. Our responsibilities and needs for productivity have pushed solitude and personal prayer to the margins of personal and public life. Solitude is seen as a benign option for the few, rather than an integral aspect of each person's health and wholeness. The lack of civility, genuine conversation, and desire for collegial approaches to the challenges in our world reflect the absence of solitude in our lives. The outside of our lives reflects the inside of our lives."

~ David G. R. Keller, Oasis of Wisdom: The Worlds of the Desert Fathers and Mothers

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