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Resistance

by davesandel on November 12th, 2011

Practice from Invitation to Solitude and Silence by Ruth Haley Barton

From Chapter 3, “Resistance”

“In silence all our usual patterns assault us … That is why most people give up rather quickly.  When Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, the first things to show up were the wild beasts.” – Richard Rohr

Practice:

As you enter into solitude and silence today, notice your experience of the push-pull phenomenon.  When have you noticed resistance (pushing you away from solitude) and desire (pulling you toward solitude) functioning within you at the same time?  What are you noticing right now?

What cares and concerns do you need to entrust to God’s care so you can be fully present with him in solitude?  Allow them to surface, along with the emotions surrounding them.  Then jot them in your journal or on a separate piece of paper.  Release them to God through prayer, or use a symbolic gesture like placing the page in an envelope and setting it aside.  Notice how it feels to have a way of releasing care and concern as part of your routine of entering into solitude.  You may want to incorporate this into your practice regularly.

Do you notice any fear or anxiety these days about the experience of solitude?  When have you been aware that fear sabotages your efforts to enter more deeply into solitude and silence?  Use words, phrases, pictures or images to help you express your fear to God.  Don’t waste energy trying to fight your fear; just let it be in God’s presence, like a child who is comforted by a parent’s presence when she is frightened.  Listen for God’s response.

What does your desire feel like, sound like, look like these days?  How easy or difficult is it for you to stay with your experience of desire?  Are you brave enough to own your desire, to say it and claim it as the truest thing about you, so that it can take you where your heart has been longing to go?

Close your time of silence with a prayer of gratitude for God’s presence with you, or pray the Lord’s prayer as a way of transitioning to whatever comes next in your day.

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