When I was in the monastery, I learned about "lectio divina"; holy reading. It is also holy reading which winds itself down to holy listening.
Also in the monastery, during Lent, Friday evenings were special lectio nights. These night were extra quiet. After Vespers, we could have a quiet meal or not; but then most of us were in our monastic cells practicing lectio divina. Hence the name Lectio Night.
So here I sit, an ex-monastic, but real time engineer and person in the world. I've been going through an experience which I can't figure out. Why God have we messed with this situation? I have decided to have a lectio night right now.
I said yes to the nebulous universe. I put myself out there. I took the risk. I am willing.
The older I get, the more I wonder, "What's it all about Alfie?" And I know I'm not alone in that question. I know I can have a life of service helping others. I know I can have a life of prayer. I know I can have a life dedicated to God and striving to be of maximum service to God. Every minute of every day is a spiritual experience. But I frequently have no sense of What For?
Why did I suddenly apply for that job? Why did I get the interview? Why did I look extra nice this morning as I went to the interview? This serves as temptation for conflicting thoughts about my current job. It provides an opening for my ego to start a critical harangue about me. If I don't get an offer, then what was this experience for? If I do get an offer, do I want to accept it?
I knew about the job through a fluke of the modern age: LinkedIn sent me an e-mail. I applied because of a small nagging thought that I should. Then I was surprised that I got the call. Then I dreaded going to the interview. Then I decided to try for the brass ring. If I got the job, it would be a brass ring. I have to try. then I thought of the one hour interview as my hour of power. One hour in my life to shine. I did shine.
Coming home to solitude, I wonder. I see the ongoing issues in my life that require my attention. I know that I can't run away from the hassles of life.
More than 10 years ago, the day after I was asked to leave the monastery, I was driving to the city to figure out what to do with myself. I was crying and pounding on the steering wheel saying, "Why me God? Why do I have to be the one that leaves? Why do those other stupid people get to stay?" The answer I heard inside was, "Because you can."
What will I hear from my inner self about why I interviewed for a job? I hope something. If it is nothing then I have to face that too. Solitude is about facing what ever it is. Conscious contact is about the truth of the silence and stillness. Nothing can fix the gaping emptiness. Cry out! Nothing answers. Sit in awe.