(from The Art of Manliness)
In spite of the days are full of tests, waiting for test results, sleep, pain and other things, and I am ‘retired’, I have noticed that I just seem to have less time for the more esoteric things – like contemplation.
But, the Art of Manliness has brought my attention back to the simpler disciplines.
(May I suggest as we all should be?)
One might take a few moments and contemplate these.
By Brett and Kate McKay on Oct 16, 2017 10:02 am
Welcome back to our series on the spiritual disciplines, which explores exercises that can be used to train the soul. The purposes and practices of these disciplines are approached in such a way that they can be adapted across belief systems.
“Not all men are called to be hermits, but all men need enough silence and solitude in their lives to enable the deep inner voice of their own true self to be heard at least occasionally. When that inner voice is not heard, when man cannot attain to the spiritual peace that comes from being perfectly at one with his true self, his life is always miserable and exhausting. For he cannot go on happily for long unless he is in contact with the springs of spiritual life which are hidden in the depths of his own soul. If man is constantly exiled from his own home, locked out of his own spiritual solitude, he ceases to be a true person. He no longer lives as a man.” —Thomas Merton
They are the spiritual disciplines through which prophets as varied as Moses, John the Baptist, Jesus, Buddha, and Muhammad prepared for their ministries and received revelations that founded new religions.
They are the spiritual disciplines that have been praised by poets and philosophers as diverse as Plato, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, Montaigne, Rousseau, Goethe, Wordsworth, Byron, Shelley, Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, Muir, Tillich, and Camus (to name only a few).
They are the spiritual disciplines that allowed many of the world’s greatest leaders, from Ulysses S. Grant and Abraham Lincoln to Winston Churchill and Theodore Roosevelt, to make history defining decisions.
They are the spiritual disciplines of solitude and silence, and they are vitally important to the health of the soul (and of society).
They are also arguably the most intriguing and compelling of the spiritual disciplines, and yet also seem the hardest to come by in our crowded, noisy, modern world.
Silence and solitude can seem out of reach to the average man — the exclusive purview of the kind of religious ascetics and hermetic philosophers just mentioned, or a luxury that can be indulged only by those leaders who face choices freighted with heavy meaning and high stakes.
In truth, finding solitude and silence is possible even in the present age, without having to retreat to a cloister. And, far from being the privilege of the few, seeking these states is a responsibility of us all.
Today we will explain why that is, the way in which these spiritual disciplines are connected, and how both can be sought, and attained, by even the busiest of souls.
There are many more to follow!