In a nutshell this chapter is about how to cultivate a listening heart through the two spiritual practices of silence and solitude.
I think that the paragraph of note in this chapter was on page 36 –
Part of the important work done in silence and solitude is detaching ourselves from the demands of our culture. Nothing breaks the power of hurry in our lives like practicing solitude and silence. In the absence of urgent messages and ringing telephones, we see self-promotion for what it is. A space is created within us in which the character of Christ can grow. And out of this growing, transforming spirit, we begin responding to life rather than reacting to it. From our time apart we gain inner silence, and that frees us from the world. It equips us to grow as the person God is forming us to be.”When The Soul Listens (Second Edition, 2017, Navpress), page 36
That one line tucked in the middle there is just perfect – “A space is created within us in which the character of Christ can grow.” Yes and Amen! That’s a great definition of contemplation which comes back to that wonderful verse in Galatians 2:20 where Paul says, “It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.“
Of course, as Jan Johnson points out, our lives and our world tend not to encourage silence or solitude. Rather, it seems, that such things are seen as indicating that there’s something wrong. Silence is seen as a lack of noise, and solitude is seen as a lack of people, instead of both being seen as a fullness of God.
I need not write much here as I’m sure you’ll read the chapter for yourself and have your own insights…
But! I did want to also comment on this sentence from page 32 that struck me – “We no longer use prayer to control people and circumstances.” Now that is a profound and powerful thought. We probably wouldn’t admit it, and often are likely are not even aware of it, but so often our prayers revolve around us asking God to change other people and circumstances around us, instead of revolving around a relationship with God in which we ourselves are changed.
Happy reading folks! God bless you.