There’s a lot of talk about “spirituality” in our culture. Often we’ll hear things about “clearing our mind” or “looking deep within ourselves” to find “our truth.” Part of this brand of popular spirituality is geared toward emptying one’s mind.
I mention this because it’s important to remember how different Christian spirituality is from this pop spirituality. As we discuss Christian spirituality on this site, and especially as we look at the disciplines of silence and solitude this month, then later prayer and meditation in an upcoming month, we need to remember that our goal is not emptiness or nothingness.
Andrew Murray, in his little book Humility, described the goal of the spiritual life as emptiness of self and fullness of God. As we aim to practice silence and solitude this month, we must remember that our goal isn’t to quiet our minds so that we think about nothing. (By the way, I find thinking about “nothing” to be absolutely impossible.) Our goal isn’t to stop our internal chatter so there’s just an emptiness. Our goal isn’t trying to find time alone for ourselves simply so we can be with our selves.
We quiet our minds so we can listen to God. Even if we don’t “hear” anything specific, there is great value in the waiting.
We try to stop our internal chatter so that we learn to be still, to not be so anxious, to sit at Jesus’ feet.
And we carve out space to be alone to not be with our “selves” but to reconnect with our constant Friend, the Holy Spirit within us, who never ever leaves us or forsakes us.