CHAPTER 31, IN WHICH WE LEARN ABOUT THE SIMILARITIES BETWEEN COFFEESHOPS AND CANOEING
Vince began this week’s conversation by telling a story about sitting at the same coffeeshop every morning for two hours. He’d sit in the same seat at the same table and look out the window at the same tree every day. On these mornings he began to experience inner calm in the midst of a very difficult season of life. From this inner calm, he began to converse with God…about all kinds of things. They talked about large things and small things, important things and insignificant things. This was once of Vince’s onramps to the quiet life. From this story, Vince and Lightning talked about when and where we find quiet.
Lightning finds inner quiet most easily in his canoe. One of the best ways for him to get in touch with himself and God is paddling on a river. One of Lightning’s favorite summer activities is canoeing on a Friday afternoon. In a larger sense, Lightning seeks out quiet when he needs to process his emotions. He is a slow processor and often spends much of his time with God working to understand what he is feeling.
These are ways that the guys seek out inner quiet, but there are also external factors that can send us to inner quiet and contemplation. When Lightning is faced with some of the tragedy in the world today, he is caught off-guard with grief and mourning. This sadness is also a form of contemplation. He doesn’t enjoy it, and yet it feels like a privilege to share in the pain of the world.In these moments where Lightning is drawn into quiet grief by current events, he finds comfort in knowing that suffering is the one thing that all humans have in common. It is an openness to this non-specific grief that also allows Lightning to experience the joy of the quiet life. He is often caught off-guard also by small moments of joy and appreciation for the world around him.
The quiet inner life is something that we make space for, but we don’t make it happen. We invite God’s presence, and then the inner quiet is something that happens to us. I don’t create connection with God or myself, but it happens in these moments where I take time to dial down and listen and wait. Inner quiet is something that happens to us as we make space for it in our lives.
Next week, Vince and Lightning will talk more about contemplation and inner quiet. Until then, Lightning shared this quote:
“Be at least as interested in what goes on inside you as what happens outside. If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place. Primary reality is within, secondary reality is without.”
Eckhard Tolle, The Power of Now
STUFF THAT IS WORTH CHECKING OUT
The church that Vince co-leads: Brown Line Vineyard