There was a time in my life when I considered joining a monastery for a year.
I thought it would be a good spiritual experience to learn to live in quietness and simplicity.
I remember telling my best friend, Lacie, about this at the time. Little did I know she was thinking to herself, Oh great, I’m in love with a guy who wants to be monk!
Fast forward 10 years…
I’ve been married to Lacie for seven years and we have three kids: ages five, three and two.
I never did become a monk or spend any time in a monastery. But I still want to take a one or two day silent retreat sometime.
I think it’d be good for me since I feel addicted to words. Either speaking, reading or listening to them. It’s like my mind constantly craves more content, more knowledge and more information.
Sometimes I feel like I don’t even know how to be quiet anymore with all the nonstop commotion in my mind.
And so lately I’ve been experimenting with taking 30-minute silent retreats.
I started doing this because 43 days ago I made a commitment to start praying for 30 minutes each day.
When I first started my daily prayer practice I would talk most of those 30 minutes.
I would also spend some time in worship or praying in the spirit. But recently I’ve been taking time to just be quiet and still for those 30 minutes. And I feel like it’s helping me get “centered.”
Like I said, my mind is constantly darting here and there; from one idea to the next. I feel like I’m stuck in “productivity mode” 24/7 and it’s hard for me to slow down and relax.
So these little 30 minute silent retreats are proving to be a good antidote for my never-ending appetite of getting things done.
I haven’t had any major spiritual breakthroughs or revelations or anything.
But it just feels good to sit and be still for chunk of time. My mind still races and ever couple minutes I find myself bringing my focus back to God or to a scripture I’m meditating on.
But I feel like I’m making progress. It’s not much. But it feels like I’m headed in the right direction. A direction of peace, stillness and simplicity.
So if you’re like me, if your mind is constantly racing and you have trouble relaxing I encourage you to adopt this experiment. All you have to do is pull out your phone and set a countdown timer for 30 minutes.
Sit there and be quiet. Don’t play on your phone. Don’t read anything. Just be still. Yes, you’ll get bored but that’s just part of the process.
Embrace the boredom and the silence. Turn your thoughts toward God’s presence and just enjoy the moment.
Try it a few time and see what you think!