There is a PDF version of this Discussion Guide here.
Chapter 5 – Silence and Solitude.
Review, Reflect and Discuss
Feel free to comment and raise any questions that occur to you as you read. Don’t be limited to the questions listed after each summary, but they might help to prime your thinking.
Chapter 6 – reflecting on the digital distraction that has robbed us of the opportunity and ability to be bored, especially for young adults, JMC argues that such distraction stops us from being present to the moment, to God, to others, to the world and our own souls. He argues that the practice from Jesus’ life that most helps us with this is the practice of silence and solitude. He examines the many time it mentions in the gospels that Jesus went to a desert, a mountain, quiet place – an ‘eremos’, how often ‘Jesus withdrew.’ It was a top priority for him. The busier he became, the more he got time alone. He then reflects on the ancient spiritual discipline of silence and solitude. He points out there is both external and internal silence. The problem is we sometimes use external noise to drown out the internal noise. He also distinguishes between solitude and isolation, or loneliness. Quoting some spiritual heroes, he argues for how absolutely vital this practice is, listing the consequences when we don’t practice it and the benefits when we do. He sees the current emphasis on mindfulness as an example of the secular world tapping into the benefits of this ancient discipline. He ends by encouraging a return to ‘the quiet time’.
- Do you find yourself affected by ‘digital distraction?’ What other things bring noise and distraction into your life?
- Do you ever use ‘external noise’ to drown out ‘internal noise? What is the internal noise for you?
- Why do you think JMC argues this discipline is so essential?
- What would it look like for you to start practising this discipline?
We are taking each of the four core practices one at a time. So for next time just read Chapter 7 – Sabbath