A Weekly publication of The Awakening Institute for Spiritual Formation,
Spiritual Direction and Soul Care
Hi Everyone, I pray that you, at this very moment, are experiencing the presence of God in your day. Now is a good time to be still and let God speak to your heart.
This week we continue to look at spiritual practices that can enhance of Lenten journey. This week we consider how Lent and Silence
Silence and Lent
An important part of the Christian journey is the simple act of becoming silent before God. This is a great practice to develop as we move into the middle parts of our Lenten journey. Silence is often counterintuitive as silence is not the absence of sound as much as it is becoming attuned to a very specific voice, the voice of God. The practice therefore is one that includes contemplative listening. Contemplative is a practice of silent prayer in which we ask God to make us still enough inwardly to hear God’s voice speaking in our lives and to know God’s presence experientially.
He (The Lord) said (to Elijah), "Go out and stand on the mountain before the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by." Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. 13 When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him that said, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" NRS 1 Kings 19:11-13
Silence creates space around things and people. We then become aware that that space is then filled by the breath of God, the Holy Spirit. It is in this space in which revelation occurs and wisdom is found. It is in this sacred silent space where we can rest in God’s mystical creative presence all around us. Remember it was out of sheer silence that God spoke to Elijah and it was out of sheer silence that God created all things. Silence reminds us that out of it came all that is. Silence is God’s first language. The Word was silent before being spoken. The Word became flesh out of sheer silence.
Silence also allows us to appreciate the uniqueness of those things and people around us. Too often we allow the inner and the outer chatter to distract us from the unique person, who is living in unrepeatable moments, right before our very eyes. Every moment is a unique gift of God, as is every person. It behooves us to savor the uncountable unique creation and each blessed holy moment that God is gifting us with in our lives.
Silence reminds our hearts to listen. Silence is not a head (intellectual) thing, silence is a heart thing. To the analytical mind silence is a waste of time, but to the heart silence is expansive and healing.
Listening to silence intimately connects us to all that is.
In the silence God can tune our ear, hearing as if it was thunder, the harmony and Shalom of God’s love, as well as the grace notes that are coming forth every moment, just waiting for us to become aware. The sheep learn to hear the Lord’s voice when they become silent, thus predisposing themselves to contemplative listening.
Silence gives us the ability to empty ourselves into that from which all creation has come forth; thus giving us the gift of being aware of Holy Spirit movements, in us, and all around us.
Silence and sleep: I firmly believe that a cycle of proper sleep and Sabbath are absolutely necessary for one to develop the ability to hear God in the silence. It was after the silence of sleep that Jacob became aware of God’s presence.
Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, "Surely the LORD is in this place-- and I did not know it!" NRS
The silence of sleep becomes a training ground for hearts and minds to hear God. Maybe this is part of the reason why people today have such a difficult time with silence. Not enough sleep and avoidance of Sabbath rest. A good practice to develop silence that allows for contemplative listening is to wake up slowly after a good night rest. As you wake keep your eyes closed. Allow yourself to savor the moments between sleep and awakening. In this you also begin to get in touch with the awakening of your spirit and a deeper awareness of God’s presence. As such silence and contemplative listening awakening to God’s presence converge as you realize yourself barefoot, on sacred timeless ground. We become more and more aware of the voice of God in the silence of the present timeless moment.
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Coming in the Fall of 2017
Introduction to the Enneagram Eleven Week Course
This is an Eleven week (27.5 hour) course into the fantastic world
of the Enneagram.
This class will include an in-depth look into all nine spaces as well as their subtypes, wings, triads and Holy ideas, with emphasis on its usefulness within the context of spiritual direction and self-care.
Syllabus is now available; firstname.lastname@example.org
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Coming this Fall
Christian Mysticism in Today’s World
Course Description: This is an 12 week course, (2 1/2 hours per session), designed to help the student discover the most important dynamics of Christian Mysticism, both in its historical context as well as the many ways it has, and continues to develop today. We will use a three-fold approach, which includes 1) Defining mysticism historically and what it means for disciples today. 2) Answering the question, “Who is a mystic?” and 3) the way of the mystic.
Syllabus now available, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Community Bible Experience
This is an encounter with God’s Word designed for those who wish to experience the Scriptures at a deep heart level, as a way to inner transformation.
Coming in the summer of 2017
The Gospel of John
Some recommendations for excellent
If you have others to share with our readers please send them to email@example.com
Knowing as We Are Known
A five seek study in inner stillness
As taught by the author
Eugene T. Yotka
August 4, 11, 18, 25 and September1
at Epworth UMC,
7651 Johnson Street, Hollywood, Florida
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for tuition costs, further details and to reserve your space
Something to Ponder
Discipline in the spiritual life is the concentrated effort to create the space and time where God can become our master and where we respond freely to God’s guidance.
Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey
“Knowing as We Are Known: An Exercise in Inner Stillness”, by Eugene T. Yotka,
Imagine Seeing Yourself as God See’s You; The True You.
Imagine Living in Full Awareness of The Lord’s Presence in Your Life
Imagine Having a Deeper Sense of Being One of God’s Beloved Children
Imagine Hearing God’s Still Small Voice in a More Profound Manner
We all long to live from the center of an authentic self. Gene Yotka has provided an important resource for helping us identify and express a spiritual life from that center. His book is a gift. – Dr. Steve Harper, Professor of Spiritual Formation, Asbury Theological Seminary
Gene has demystified contemplative prayer and made it accessible to the average believer. – Dr. Stephen Seamands, Professor of Christian Doctrine, Asbury Theological Seminary
From Gene’s book I learned a lot about how to truly pray. -- Salvatore Buttaci, Author and Poet
Eugene Yotka's book changed my life. I have struggled with years of feeling lonely even though I had people in my life that I felt connected with and having been saved since I was 3 years old and felt I had a relationship with the Lord. But this book and practicing inner stillness brought me to a place of knowing God like I have never known Him before. I no longer feel alone and feel empowered to practice inner stillness daily to continue this awesome relationship with God. --Wanda, Amazon review
“Knowing as We Are Known: An Exercise in Inner Stillness”, by Eugene T. Yotka, offers a way to experience the true self where God speaks to our spirits telling us we are God’s children. We are created to live in the Presence of God, here and now, and to know inward stillness, peace, and tranquility as a way of life.
Available for $12.00 from The Awakening Institute for Spiritual Formation, Spiritual Direction and Soul Care
Immerse yourself in that still place within, in which God speaks to the true self that you have been created to be. This book is more than simply information about inner stillness; it is a guide into the experience of inner stillness itself. This is the author’s journey to that place where God speaks to our spirits and calls us children. This is a call not so much to do something as much as it is a call to be who God created us to be.
A Gathering of Spiritual Directors
This coming spring The Awakening Institute will host a gathering of spiritual directors. The reason for the gathering is to come together in prayer and to seek discernment regarding ways we can, together, raise awareness within the church of how spiritual direction can be a vehicle by which God’s presence and voice can be more deeply felt and more clearly heard, at both individual and congregational levels. If you are a spiritual director and would like to join in this conversation please contact Gene Yotka at 321-298-8801 or email email@example.com for additional details.
Have Something You Would Like to Share?
Awakening would be blessed to receive original articles, poems, or artistic work that would be helpful and edifying for those interested in Spiritual Formation, Spiritual Direction, and/or Soul Care for future publication.
Please submit via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
(Additional to our daily Scripture reading)
Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer, by David-Steindl Rast
I Am A Follower, by Leonard Sweet
Becoming Human, By Jean Vanier
Knowing As We Are Known, by Eugene T. Yotka
Let Your Life Speak, by Parker Palmer
Desiring God’s Will, by David Benner
Walking In The Light, by Steve Harper
Thoughts in Solitude, by Thomas Merton
Incarnation: The Surprising Overlap of Heaven & Earth, by Will Willimon
The Mystic Way of Evangelism, by Elaine A. Heath
A Hidden Wholeness, by Parker Palmer
The Return of the Prodigal Son, by Henri Nouwen
Way of Love: Recovering the Heart of Christianity, by Norman Wirzba
Falling Upward, by Richard Rohr
Between the Dark and the Daylight, by Joan Chittister
New Seeds of Contemplation, by Thomas Merton
Love Henri, by Henri Nouwen
New! The Divine Dance, by Richard Rohr
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