The alarm clock rings. You rub your eyes and toss off the sheets and blankets. Your feet slam to the floor. Slurping down a cup of coffee while checking the news or social media, you then dash out the door into another busy day.
Like a crazed squirrel looking for nuts, you scramble through the next ten hours chasing your never-ending to-do lists.
This life in the “too-fast lane” is not only exhausting, it also blocks us from the flow of being in touch with ourselves. It dams up the natural river between our human hearts and the Divine Heart—the One that gives us guidance, love, and wisdom.
Years ago, Brian Casey, a spiritual teacher at a retreat I attended, pointed out that like so many people, I was living a mad-dash lifestyle. It was making me crazy.
“How do I live a slower-paced life and find more inner peace?” I asked.
Brian told me to create a special space in my home for me and the Creator—a private place, like a den or corner of a bedroom, where I could sit twenty minutes each day in the quiet.
“In your sacred space, put a comfortable blanket on a rocking chair or couch so you can snuggle into the warmth. Place pictures of God, loved ones, or other meaningful symbols on the walls. Fill the room with the scent of your favorite candle. Make the space your private hermitage where you can be alone with the Creator each day.”
Brian’s soft eyes offered me a ray of hope as he continued.
“Remove yourself from the world’s distractions as you enter daily quiet time. Sit with the Divine. In your sacred space, listen to your inner self. Listen to God.”
“How do I create time for what seems like a do-nothing daily practice?” I sighed. “My life is already jam-packed with too much work and too many family obligations.”
“It’s simple,” Brian said. “Start your day with quiet time. Before you go to bed tonight, set your alarm a half an hour early. When the alarm rings, get up, pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea, then go into your sacred space. Light a candle. Be alone with the One who’s waiting for you. Do this for seven days, and it will become a life-giving habit.”
I don’t have time for quiet time! I told myself. But I pushed through the resistance, followed Brian’s advice, and, for thirty years, I’ve entered my den for quiet time first thing each morning. It’s the best part of every day. In that sacred space, I often experience what Mother Teresa said occurred in her daily solitude: “I look at God. God looks at me. And we are very happy.”
A Time-Tested Practice
The invitation to start each day with quiet time is consistent with what Jesus told his followers. “When you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private” (Matt 6:6).
Throughout the ages, saints and other holy men and women followed Jesus’ example of daily prayer. St Francis promised, “Where there is rest and meditation, there is neither anxiety nor restlessness.”
The secular world echoes the call to slow down our lives with the Slow Living movement that started in 1980. Carl Honoré helped bring the concept of slow living into the mainstream with the publication of his book, In Praise of Slowness—Challenging the Cult of Speed.
Rather than starting our day doing the mad-dash out of bed and then distracting ourselves with social media or the news, imagine beginning each day with the slow pace of meditation. Imagine how slowing down your life can reap the rewards of deeper peace, clarity, and guidance and spill over into slow living throughout your day.
As I wrote about in my book, Finding Flow—Spiritual Practices to Reclaim Inner Peace, Balance, and Wholeness, I’ve discovered, “Quiet time solves everything” because it creates a place to sort through our lives, get perspective, and nourish ours souls with inspiration for the day.
Consider embracing a daily ritual of Quiet Time during the coming Lenten season. Create a space to be alone with yourself and the Creator. Show up for twenty minutes at the same time each day. Let it become a life-giving practice.
Notice how taking time for yourself each day slows your pace, gives you a deeper sense of inner peace, and sets the tone for your day.
Maybe this is your God-nudge—a gentle invitation from the Divine—to join the universal movement of daily meditation and quiet time. Challenge the cult of speed by putting on your morning brakes. Get out of living in the too-fast lane by pulling into the rest area of daily meditation. Your soul will thank you.
—brian j plachta
PS—Here’s a link to a short Guided Meditation called: Centering Prayer-Finding Your Center, that you can use to begin your daily quiet time.
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Falling In Love With God
February Workshop—Live and on Zoom
When we spend time with loved ones, we discover more about ourselves and those we treasure. We deepen the relationships and experience happiness. It’s the same with God. Celebrate the Feast Day of Love and discover a smorgasbord of spiritual practices for your Lenten journey – ways that allow you to fall more deeply in love with God.