Daily Riches: Solitude and the Chattering Monkeys (Henri Nouwen, Pope Francis and David K. Flowers) *

“In solitude I get rid of my scaffolding; no friends to talk with, no telephone calls to make, no meetings to attend, no music to entertain, no books to distract, just me—naked, vulnerable, weak, sinful, deprived, broken—nothing. It is this nothingness that I have to face in my solitude, a nothingness so dreadful that everything in me wants to run to my friends, my work, and my distractions so that I can forget my nothingness and make myself believe that I am worth something. But that is not all. As soon as I decide to stay in my solitude, confusing ideas, disturbing images, wild fantasies, and weird associations jump about in my mind like monkeys in a banana tree. Anger and greed begin to show their ugly faces. I give long, hostile speeches to my enemies and dream lustful dreams in which I am wealthy, influential, and very attractive—or poor, ugly, and in need of immediate consolation.  … The task is to persevere in my solitude, to stay in my cell until all my seductive visitors get tired of pounding on my door and leave me alone.” Henri Nouwen

“In the history of salvation,
neither in the clamour nor in the blatant,
but the Shadows and the Silence
are the places in which God chose
to reveal himself to humankind.”
Pope Francis

“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Do you avoid solitude? If so, why?
  • Are you expecting to find God, or be found by him in crowd’s “clamour?”
  •  Are you willing to “persevere” in your solitude until the “monkeys in the banana tree” give up and leave you alone?

“The world is full of people wanting to solve [its] problems. But the world would profit much more if people would first confront their own anxieties and the things that cause them 1) to have to fill every silence with meaningless chatter, 2) to stay constantly busy, and 3) to do anything to avoid being still.” David K. Flowers

Abba, deliver me from these tactics.

__________

For More: The Essential Henri Nouwen

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The “Daily Riches” from RicherByFar are for your encouragement as you seek after God, and as he seeks after you. My goal is to give you something of uncommon value each day in less than 400 words. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Change the World, but First Yourself (David K. Flowers, Thomas Merton, Socrates) *

“You don’t need to fix your friends or family. You don’t need to solve all the problems that confront you. If you can simply learn to not be controlled by fear — your own or that of others — you will be a non-anxious presence in the lives of others, and there is nothing they need more. So how do you do this? By confronting your own anxieties and fears head-on. An anxious person cannot be a non-anxious presence, obviously. The world is full of people wanting to solve all the problems of the world. But the world would profit much more if people would first confront their own anxieties and the things that cause them 1) to have to fill every silence with meaningless chatter, 2) to stay constantly busy, and 3) to do anything to avoid being still.”  David K. Flowers

“He who attempts to act and do things for others or for the world without deepening his own self-understanding, freedom, integrity, and capacity to love, will not have anything to give to others. He will communicate to them nothing but the contagion of his own obsessions, his aggressivity, his ego-centered ambitions, his delusions about ends and means.” Thomas Merton

“Let him who would move the world, first move himself.” ~ Socrates

First get rid of the log in your own eye;
then you will see well enough
to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.”
Jesus in Matthew 7:5

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • It’s much easier to focus on “fixing” another person (a spouse, a child, a friend) than to look within. In many instances, Jesus wants us to leave the other person to him. Is there someone in your life right now that you’re trying to “fix?”
  • The most effective way to help others is for us to bring a “non-anxious presence” (“our best selves”) into our relationships with them. Do you regularly have a non-anxious presence?
  • Can you spend time before God in silence and stillness? Are you too busy to be without anxiety? How can you have a more “non-anxious presence?”

Abba, I know I need to slow down, be still, and be more quiet before you and others. Help me learn to rest in your love – so I can bring my very best self to others.

__________

For More: Living Truthfully by David K. Flowers

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Thanks for reading!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Solitude and the Chattering Monkeys (Henri Nouwen and Pope Francis)

“In solitude I get rid of my scaffolding; no friends to talk with, no telephone calls to make, no meetings to attend, no music to entertain, no books to distract, just me—naked, vulnerable, weak, sinful, deprived, broken—nothing. It is this nothingness that I have to face in my solitude, a nothingness so dreadful that everything in me wants to run to my friends, my work, and my distractions so that I can forget my nothingness and make myself believe that I am worth something. But that is not all. As soon as I decide to stay in my solitude, confusing ideas, disturbing images, wild fantasies, and weird associations jump about in my mind like monkeys in a banana tree. Anger and greed begin to show their ugly faces. I give long, hostile speeches to my enemies and dream lustful dreams in which I am wealthy, influential, and very attractive—or poor, ugly, and in need of immediate consolation.  … The task is to persevere in my solitude, to stay in my cell until all my seductive visitors get tired of pounding on my door and leave me alone.” Henri Nouwen

“In the history of salvation,
neither in the clamour nor in the blatant,
but the Shadows and the Silence
are the places in which God chose
to reveal himself to humankind.”
Pope Francis

“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Do you avoid solitude? If so, why?
  • Are you expecting to find God, or be found by him in crowd’s “clamour?”
  •  Are you willing to “persevere” in your solitude until the “monkeys in the banana tree” give up and leave you alone?

“The world is full of people wanting to solve [its] problems. But the world would profit much more if people would first confront their own anxieties and the things that cause them 1) to have to fill every silence with meaningless chatter, 2) to stay constantly busy, and 3) to do anything to avoid being still.” David K. Flowers

Abba, deliver me from these tactics.

__________

For More: The Essential Henri Nouwen

_________________________________________________

The “Daily Riches” from RicherByFar are for your encouragement as you seek after God, and as he seeks after you. My goal is to give you something of uncommon value each day in less than 400 words. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: “Change Yourself First” (David K. Flowers)

“You don’t need to fix your friends or family. You don’t need to solve all the problems that confront you. If you can simply learn to not be controlled by fear — your own or that of others — you will be a non-anxious presence in the lives of others, and there is nothing they need more. So how do you do this? By confronting your own anxieties and fears head-on. An anxious person cannot be a non-anxious presence, obviously. The world is full of people wanting to solve all the problems of the world. But the world would profit much more if people would first confront their own anxieties and the things that cause them 1) to have to fill every silence with meaningless chatter, 2) to stay constantly busy, and 3) to do anything to avoid being still.”  David K. Flowers

First get rid of the log in your own eye;
then you will see well enough
to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.”
Jesus in Matthew 7:5

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • It’s much easier to focus on “fixing” another person (a spouse, a child, a friend) than it is to look within. In many instances, Jesus wants us to leave the other person to him. Is there someone in your life right now that you’re trying to “fix?”
  • Flowers suggests we can nevertheless powerfully help others by bringing a “non-anxious presence” into our relationships with them. Do you regularly have a non-anxious presence?
  • Can you spend time before God in silence and stillness? Are you too busy to be without anxiety? What can you do differently to have more of a “non-anxious presence?”

Abba, I know I need to learn more about slowing down, sitting still, being quiet and being alone with you. I want to learn to rest in your love – and offer it to others. Please teach me.

__________

For More: Living Truthfully: Discovering the Freedom that Comes From Finding, Facing, and Following the Truth … by David K. Flowers

_________________________________________________

The “Daily Riches” from RicherByFar are for your encouragement as you seek after God, and as he seeks after you. My goal is to provide you with something of uncommon value each day in about 300 words. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)