The above quote was written by Pascal in the seventeenth century so excuse his non-inclusive language and applaud him for helping us understand the human condition. What do you suspect he means by not knowing ‘how to stay quietly in your room’? My take is that this is a metaphor for the inner journey. The more I return to the still silent room within, the more love, serenity and peace I discover. How about you?
The whole concept of sabbatical, which comes from sabbath and its root sabat, simply means rest, to leave. It dates back through the Romans, Greeks, Hebrews, Egyptians, and further. It was and is the recognition that each of us needs to take significant time away from the day to day activities of our lives. Our nature is to discover and discern the deeper elements of Life that are a vital part of Who we are. It’s a way of re-Sourcing.
When was the last time you stepped away from the busy-ness of your life’s activities to go into your ‘closet’, another metaphor, to be still, awaken to the larger context of your life, and simply let yourself reset and renew without external distractions? Some people do this one, two, three or more times daily as well as for weeks and months periodically throughout their lives. What’s your rhythm? How often do you‘stay quietly in your room’?
I was fortunate to learn the valuable lesson of sabbatical as I transitioned from the first to the second quarter of my life. It was marked by a four month rest and leave taking from all I knew. A very traumatic life situation led me to live alone in a primitive cabin at eleven thousand feet in the dead of winter. The silence became audible, the time eternal. The inner room was everywhere. The experience was transformational.
Today, like many of you, I sit at another crossroad, transition, entering another season of life. Rather than jumping into this next phase of Life’s trajectory, the sabbatical option is to step back, relax, retreat, and allow Life to reveal itself rather than chasing after it. Do you feel the push to drive on AND the pull to slow down, stay quietly in your room? Will you continue to move into the ‘unhappiness’ of strive and drive or allow yourself the gift of relaxing, releasing , and retreating to advance in new and more holistic ways?
The questions that make a difference are: How can I serve? How can I be gentle? How can I be reverent and loving? In these questions there’s a longing to connect with the energy that takes care of everything. Connecting with this energy, this Source of Life and Light includes connecting with the Who that is you. It points to the awareness that staying quietly in your room is an essential part of Life. Are you willing to receive this gift of Compassion, Appreciation, and Lightness? Are you willing to be still and Know?