"In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength..." (Isaiah 30:15)
"There's nothing wrong with quiet."
(Robert Redford in 'Jeremiah Johnson')
My mentor and I were talking the other day about life's illusions and how alarmingly easy it is to become transfixed by them, to lose sight of priority. We discussed how to avoid this and came to the conclusion that it's impossible to completely steer clear of distractions, that sadly, it's human to be bamboozled.
Illusions can take us on a Magic Carpet Ride through all sorts of mysterious lands, through vapors and views that seem solid, worthwhile, beneficial, yet an outstretched hand discovers they are vapid fog which have tantalized our vision, tickled itching ears, Sirens which have lured us into danger. Tuning into the voice inside which gently, patiently implores us to stick out our hands and test our surroundings is the hard part. Beguiling vistas, enticing words, arousing or soothing pleasures, these hold us spellbound, deaf to the Voice of Truth, the Wisdom of Reality which steadfastly warns, "This path is not level. Make level paths for your feet. You are swapping the truth for lies."
The secret to prevailing, we decided, is in vigilance.
My sagely friend said, "Sometimes life gets away from you in the form of illusions and distractions. You need to regularly sit down, get quiet, listen to your heartbeat, listen to your breath, contemplate what you know is true, pray. The illusions dissipate sooner or later. Foundational things come into view. God makes himself known."
As one who has long defended the benefits of solitude and self- reflection, I find her words ring true. I shall ponder them next time my mind is quiet while I'm loading the dishwasher, or folding the laundry, or weeding the garden, or scooping doggie poo, or sitting down and listening to my body beat and breathe.