Some people have a seemingly quiet life but they are noisy inside. Some people have a seemingly busy life but they have a quietness within. To lessen the inner noise we can develop self-awareness, introspection, and stillness. We grow in solitude. By having a quiet time, we start to wake up.
The quiet time has several requirements:
- Solitude – we must be alone. Our psyche will never go into the recesses of our deepest thoughts if we are not in the solitary presence of ourself and God only. Thoughts will not rise from the depth of our unconscious without clear permission and a suitable mental environment. Unconscious thoughts need our undivided attention before they dare to show their hidden form.
- Time – a least half an hour. An hour is wonderful. One grows to love the time although, at first, it can be uncomfortable. Those who are very dedicated spiritual students, eventually, extend the quality of consciousness that they attain in their quiet time to their entire day and even to their night while asleep. It is what is meant by pray without ceasing. It becomes an effortless, aware state of mind that remains constant within the developed practitioner.
- Space – dedicate a space of your own where you will be undisturbed. If you have your own room then that is fabulous. If it is a beautiful and peaceful room with a lovely, natural outlook then you could ask for nothing better. However, anything will do. If there is no space at all, go into the garden or go for a walk. Your walk will be a walking meditation, a time for reflection and healing. Don’t use the time walking to the railway station on the way to work as your only quiet time because your mind will be naturally focused on the day’s activities. Walking to the station is an added bonus of quiet, not your dedicated quiet time. Of course, if you live alone then your life, at this point, will have much solitude. Make the most of it for your personal growth because you do not know how long it will last. Someone who works on him or herself will inevitably make much progress and will be in demand with requests to participate in life in all sorts of ways. How we respond is dependent on our preferences, needs, and destiny.
- Go into our thoughts – the whole purpose of a quiet time is to give our mind the conditions it needs to allow unconscious thoughts to rise to the surface of our mind. It is our unconscious thoughts which lead and form our life, far more than our conscious ones. They can and do lead us into danger. They can also lead us to safety. The more we are aware of what these thoughts are, the more we become their master. It is a fool who believes he is a master of his own destiny when he does not even know his own thoughts.
- Face our fears – as we go deeper into our thoughts, we must have the courage to allow the emotions attached to them to also surface. Every unconscious, buried thought has an attached emotion. Often, it is a difficult emotion such as fear, jealousy, anger, grief, despair, loneliness, hopelessness or insecurity. These unpleasant emotions are the reason we condemned the thought to unconsciousness in the first place. We will find that if we allow both the underlying thought and the attached emotion to surface then they will lessen, heal, and transform. This is experientially verified by our own practice.
- Give our grievances air time – one of the most important aspects of a quiet time is to give our repressed anger a voice. The quiet time is the right place to express anger. Make sure no one can hear you. Swear, stamp your feet, throw things, hurl your worst insults, and be totally irrational. After all, the unconscious mind is by nature irrational. It lifts the repressed anger. Most of us are horrified by the mass of anger which lies inside us. It seems so childish and so unreasonable. It is. Remember it is the child talking and screaming with rage. Give it space to surface and it will release the pent-up energy and one day disappear. It leads to forgiveness and healing. Persistent practice of releasing this energy makes our heart freer and lighter.