Wednesday, March 11

Searching the quietness

One of the most challenging aspects of city living is to find the quietness I am searching for. I search for quietness and find none. Determined to keep away from noises, I drive distant palaces to keep myself off from a rumbling city. This effort has developed a very special love for quietness and silence in my life.

In quietness I find a direction in my listening to the stillness and silence all around me. “Busyness” is a common word. Nevertheless, I block out my time and place. Thus, I am not available to “busyness”. One simple method is to drop the cell phone at home and drive to the freedom of quietness. (Many cannot do that I know.) Yesterday I did exactly that. Coming home, I found a dozen ‘missed calls’ notifications. Busyness lost...quietness prevailed!

It is sometime since I have been experimenting the spirituality of a city life. It is interesting to note that today’s city life is so full of contradictions. For example, we have city apartments where nothing is really apart! These are just concrete jungles where people are packed. The spirituality of a city life too is a contradiction. I live in it.

Sometime ago, I remember reading the story ‘The Voice of the City’ by O Henry. Today I go back to that same story. Here, the author struggles to find a distinct and unique ‘voice’ for the city. He says that we can only find the ‘voice of agglomerated mankind’.... and he goes on to say that the voice is the ‘composite vocal message of massed humanity’. The author asks, ‘But who can comprehend the meaning of the voice of the city?’ Of course, this brilliant short story goes beyond the search for the voice or its meaning. The story settles down to the romantic overtures of a young man to his woman. In a moon lit night, by a stoop, as the little cloud tilted at the drifted moon, the meaning to the voice of the city emerged.

This Lent, as I search for quietness around me, there is a question that I ask myself, “Can I be quiet?”, Can I be still”.... I cannot ask if the city be quiet! I only wish if I were quiet. When the world around me is so noisy, can I find quietness within me? Is quietness only something high up in the hills or in the mountains? Can I find it all within me?

“Lord, let me find my own quiet hermitage to listen to your voice.
It is difficult Lord as the uproar of the world keeps calling me...
it is difficult as a million noises ring aloud into me...
And Lord, I am afraid to search for the meaning of all those voices...
as my search for the quietness ends... it ends within me.
Produce in me the gift of pious listening...
In the core of those noises,
produce in me the docility to remain where You have planted.
And let me make my heart a hermitage to listen... to listen to your voice

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalms 46:10

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