“What do you think?” my buddy Tom asked me. “Is the world more chaotic now than when Jesus walked it?”
“I think it might be about the same—or maybe it even was worse back then,” I replied. “We just hear more about our violent culture due to the twenty-four-hour news cycle. In Jesus’ days, the Romans persecuted the Jews. They silenced critics by publicly hanging them. The Pharisees, Sadducees, and Scribes vehemently debated and challenged each other. The political and religious elite often did what they needed to do to stay in power, not necessarily what was for the common good.”
“Instead of the Romans and Jews,” Tom said with a scowl, “we have the Democrats and Republicans. Our opposing political and religious factions and ideology divide us into separate camps. Those in power do what’s most advantageous to keep them on their high horses feeding at the public trough behind gated houses. They engage in character assassinations rather than solving real problems. The raging voices of cancel culture limit citizens’ ability to engage in meaningful conversation. Secularism is at an all-time high.”
Tom sighed. “I imagine God shaking his divine head, wondering if we’ll ever get it right—if instead of relying upon our angry I’m-right-and-you’re-wrong mindsets, we’ll seek God’s wisdom to guide us.”
“I think there’s hope,” I replied. “I think God’s up to something. The Spirit’s inviting us to reclaim the ancient tradition of contemplation and meditation. Modern prophets say that’s the solution to our chaotic times.”
Reclaiming an Ancient Practice for a Wisdom-Starved World
Trappist Monk Thomas Merton (1915-1968) and Father Thomas Keating (1923-2018)—two individuals whom many call modern prophets—taught that contemplation is the missing piece in our world. They noted that after the Enlightenment—the Age of Reason—the Western world threw out the ancient tradition of meditation—the practice of entering the quiet each day to seek divine insight and inner awareness.
As a result, we’re stuck in our heads. We try to solve our problems and those of the world solely with our intellect. And our monkey-minds—with their whirling thoughts that ook ook in our heads—threaten to drive us bananas.
The Heart’s Wisdom
When we take time to enter the silence, open our hearts, and allow God to embrace, love, and guide us, our human hearts connect with the Divine Heart. In the stillness, we plug into a divine being much larger and intelligent than us. We open our hearts to wisdom.
Wisdom is the gift Solomon of the Old Testament prayed for as he assumed the role of king. Wisdom allowed King Solomon to tell two feuding mothers to cut a baby in half, knowing the real mother would sacrifice her motherhood to keep her child alive.
The book of Wisdom has the following invitation for a world starving to find its way out of these violent and chaotic times:
“Wisdom is radiant and unfading, and she is easily discerned by those who love her and is found by those who seek her. She hastens to make herself known to those who desire her.
“One who rises early to seek her will have no difficulty, for she will be found sitting at the gate. To fix one’s thought on her is perfect understanding, and one who is vigilant on her account will soon be free from care, because she goes about seeking those worthy of her, and she graciously appears to them in their paths, and meets them in every thought.” Wisdom 6:12-16.
Like Solomon, Jesus, St. Francis, St. Theresa, Mother Teresa, Merton, Keating, and a host of other wise men and women, we access divine inner guidance by taking time to remove ourselves from the outer distractions that muddle and overwhelm our minds.
With regular practice of daily meditation, our thinking and experiences become filled with an awareness of Divine Presence. We’re able to discern the most life-giving choice for ourselves and our loved ones in any circumstance.
In meditation—what I like to call “Quiet Time” because it takes whatever form each of us desires to integrate into our lives—there is nothing to do, nothing to achieve other than to embrace the divine powers that seek to unfold in and through us.
Imagine: Quiet Time Solves Everything
In Chapter 4 of my Finding Flow book, I make the claim: “Quiet time solves everything.” I believe creating space for daily solitude to connect with ourselves and the Creator is the cure for whatever ails us.
What would it be like if every person—from the humble janitor to the powerful elite—set aside daily Quiet Time, time to seek deeper connection with God as they understand the Divine Being?
Would the guidance of our sacred hearts cause us to reconsider posting nasty social media messages and instead post inspirational thoughts and images?
Would our Quiet Time stop us from taking to the streets where we spray paint messages of hate and anger on public buildings and destroy private property?
Would our marches become non-violent like those of Martin Luther King, Jr., who was able to teach his followers how to live a heart-based life?
Would Quiet Time inspire our political leaders to be guided not by polls and public opinion, but rather by the same wisdom God breathed into the heart and soul of Solomon?
Would our meditation practice invite us to seek Inner Guidance so we can engage in constructive Spirit-filled conversations with others, focusing on solutions and the common good, not slinging character attacks at each other?
Would Quiet Time create a space where we bring our questions and problems to the Creator and find life-giving answers?
Could it be true that Quiet Time—the ancient practice of meditation or contemplation—can solve everything?
Let’s Be Prophets: Enter Through the Narrow Gate
The Spirit’s call for us to return to the ancient practice of contemplation and meditation is the way I make sense of and find hope in these troubled times. I’m inspired by the fact that millions of people from all faith traditions are rediscovering this simple pathway to inner peace, balance, and wholeness. It’s one of the ways you and I can join the prophetic march and become part of the solution for a world hungry for wisdom.
Quiet Time is the narrow gate, the pathway into our sacred hearts that Jesus invites us all to enter—the one that leads us to life; the one he points to in this passage from Matthew 7:13-14:
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
Will you join me in leaving behind the world’s chaos and distractions for a few minutes each day, sit in quiet contemplation, open your heart, listen, and let the Creator love and guide you? Will you seek the path of wisdom?
It may well be the remedy for our wisdom-starved world and hearts.
—brian j plachta
PS—If you need a short field guide for your Quiet Time practice, click on the Free Resources tab on my website https://brianplachta.com and download the “Jump-Start Your Meditation Practice” and/or the “Lord, Teach Us to Pray As You Do” guides.
Here’s a link to a few videos on my YouTube Page you can also view to guide and deepen your Quiet Time practice:
Thank you to all who have purchased my Finding Flow book. It has been an honor to serve so many with the life-giving tools in the book. You can get your copy on Amazon in Kindle or paperback by clicking the link below. Together—we are finding the “Flow” of inner peace, balance, and wholeness.
And a Happy Fourth of July to all of our United States readers.
As we celebrate the gifts of this amazing country, may God continue to shed Divine Grace upon our nation and lead us down the path that leads to life! God bless.