These are my reflections on Of the Love of Solitude and Silence from The Imitation of Christ, Book 1, Chapter 20. Unedited and free flowing as possible.
1. “Seek a proper time to be at leisure with yourself, and think often of God’s kindness.”
I’m no follower of meditation but I love silence. Maybe it’s because I’m an introvert and I get recharged by spending some time alone. I even co-facilitated a retreat without much talking. Spending time alone in silence gives me time to ponder on the blessings of the day and it just lets my subconscious wander. I’m not guilty of just letting my mind drift from one topic or another that sometimes, my stream of consciousness leads me somewhere else and I even enjoy tracing how did I end up there. I just let my mind wander and be distracted and experience it without judging.
2. “…If you will avoid needless talk and idle visits and not listen for the latest gossip, you will find plenty of suitable time for good meditations”
Sometimes, I feel guilty of not saying no to an invitation to go somewhere else. I want to be friendly but I’m just really stressed when I feel that the offer of a friend is just a way of building a stronger bond. At times, just to get the conversation starting, I initiate with a news I heard like “Have you heard about…” But I’m thankful that I have those misses and hits in those talks I have with people. I feel bad about talking about someone else especially when it turning out to be negative.
3. ‘As often I went out among men, I returned less of a man.’
I read this from the writings of St. Therese of Lisieux. I can only think about peer pressure about this phrase. Like for me, I’m not really an alcoholic drinker. I never appreciated the taste of beer and hard drinks (except some red wines). When friends ask me to drink, it’s hard to say no. It’s like saying no to their friendship. That’s why it’s good to have a good distance from friends with the same age group and spend more time with older people wiser than me especially this time that my stage is crucial in my formation as a religious brother.
To be continued…