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Virtual Book Tour: Interview at A Sacred Journey – Planning a Personal Retreat

Today we take a journey over to Lacy Ellman’s blog, A Sacred Journey, where I share some wisdom for planning your own personal retreat.  Lacy’s wonderful site focuses on pilgrimage as a powerful metaphor for life and she has attended live programs through the Abbey.  Read on for more:

Eyes of the Heart

What do silence and solitude have to do with spirituality and Christian tradition?

There is a long and rich tradition of seeking the gifts of silence within Christianity.  One of the earliest is the desert monks who wrote extensively about hesychia, which is a deep inner stillness and silence.  Hesychia isn’t just about finding a quiet place, but about cultivating a profound interior quiet.  Much of their practice had to do with working with their thoughts, which if we are paying attention, can be relentlessly noisy.  Through practice we can break through to moments of this silence within, which is also the place where God’s voice rises up most clearly.

What can taking a silent retreat do for our spirituality and well-being? How might going on a silent retreat be a form of pilgrimage?

A silent retreat is an interior pilgrimage.  There is a wonderful brief poem by Kabir: “A Great Pilgrimage: I felt in need of a great pilgrimage so I sat still for three days and God came to me.”   We do not need to travel many miles to find the presence of God.  In fact, sometimes travel can be a form of running away from ourselves.  The real challenge is to sit with ourselves, and all that goes on within our mind and heart, and allow ourselves to dip down into the place of stillness.  This is the greatest pilgrimage you can make.

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