At the beginning of his work as Christ* he is alone. The baptism and the 40 days in the desert e.g. Mark 1,12-13) with the temptations appertain to that. Subsequent to that the appointment of his disciples took place.
Both externally and internally, the desert represents a seclusion that allows one to become increasingly conscious and to attune oneself to the universal God more strongly. This preparation for everything that follows is indispensable for every serious religious path, which means the renewed connection with the divine origin - even if this is not the whole way. On his own level of experience Jesus also passed a stage exceeding setting aside time for daily contemplation.
The churches, even those that often speak of "inwardness" – sometimes misused as an apparent contradiction to the demonstrations for peace in the outer world - do hardly anything to show the people a practicable way to this inner peace. We did not find the element of silence, of quietly watching oneself, of waiting for what "answers" may come after a prayer to be sufficiently considered in the services of more than 30 different churches. A song, the sermon, prayers, a song - almost without a pause, possibly even collecting money at the same time as some distraction, - this is almost a copy of the hectic pace of modern society, in which people distract themselves from their unexplored inner self, either unconsciously or consciously. Only very recently, faced with the search of many people for almost any kind of experience, there have been some small advances, e.g. that some weekend contemplation seminars take place for especially interested people in the church, or that interested people are informed of bible circles or possibilities at home, etc. But even there, direct instruction is often missing. Some might recognize that a greater proximity to God requires solitude and others that their social values like self-criticism, tolerance and the ability to find peace also presuppose the effective temporary shutdown of external activity. Of course it would be hardly satisfactory for this to take place occasionally in a divine service, but it could be stimulating to recognize it as a frequently suppressed need.
The mystic Jakob Lorber wrote of Christ’s advice to the people on the
"short way to rebirth", - that can be named "New Birth",
to avoid misunderstandings, as described in the chapter about Jesus´ Birth. -
"Vom Inneren Wort – Stimme der Stille" (The inner word, voice of
silence) from the Lorber publisher (Germany). This inspired practice is
this: "If somebody wants to be born again of Christ, first he must
recognize his sins", - that means everything separating him from God, which
is something completely different to being talked into having sins by churches.
"Then one must regret internally and externally with deep feeling and
intend seriously to change one’s ways". Furthermore he must intend,
"to break with the world fully" - meaning the entanglements of
the ego, not the
active life in the world - and "to hand over oneself completely to Me"
(to Christ), "and in his love have a great longing for Me, and must
withdraw in this great longing daily from the world and its business; and at
least seven quarter hours behind shut doors and windows neither pray nor read
anything, but spend this time in absolute peace, only occupying himself with Me
in his innermost core." After an inviting address to Christ "Retreat into peace
and grow in longing and love of Me! Even if you practice this for only a short
time, so I say, you will soon see lightning and hear thunder, however, then do
not be frightened and do not become anxious! Because first I come to everyone as
judge in tempest, lightning and thunder, and then in gentle holy waves as a
father! Look, that is the shortest and most effective way to pure rebirth, the
only way in which eternal life is to be gained. Every other way takes longer and
is less safe, since there are many dangerous ways, ... he who is not armo(u)red
and well-armed will hardly reach the destination".
It is possible to pray for purification and enlightment by his spirit.
Cf. Teresa of Ávila "Interior Castle".
Cf. our excerpts from a guide by the Christian mystic Jakob Böhme too (only in German).
Yogis for instance, know that people think they, "do not have any time". In such cases they use to cut the meditation time down from several hours to half an hour, and finally to 11 minutes – that means until nobody can continue to say he hasn't got the time. Even a short time of silence, when other thoughts, feelings and sensations are not suppressed, but only watched, without getting caught up in them, has its effect, particularly when combined with some attunement to God. However, it does not have the full effect of a longer period of silence. In the eastern church - for instance on Mount Athos in Greece - the "Kyrie (Greek: Lord; while breathing in) - eleison (Greek: have mercy, while breathing out)" is used as a concentration aid. Later in one’s (his/her) development it is felt in the throat without spoken words. Another step is, while holding one's breath, to feel it in one's heart centre... See, for instance Kreichauf: "Als Pilger auf dem Berg Athos" (As pilgrim on Mount Athos; possibly only in German).
It is also a great challenge to be silent all the time, even beyond the meditation cycles, while eating etc., during a hard approx. Six-day Zen-Sesshin - a Zen sitting meditation, which is meanwhile also being offered in some Christian monasteries. After usually around three days a lot of inexperienced people can no longer resist it. Around the fourth day - comparable with the effect of the fast - they utter a sigh of relief and understand the benefit that words can only inadequately describe.
Silence creates openness. A relationship to God also protects this openness. After a meditation it is useful to accustom the mind again to the circumstances to come, meaning to be less open.
However, it is also important to carry something into the world from the silence, to learn, to maintain a certain consciousness and clarity. That means, first of all for each individual, in intuitively felt intervals and/or after complicated experiences, or just as soon as it is possible after that to take a moment to collect one’s thoughts. The contents of what happened before can be taken into this concentrated silence of the mind instead of simply escaping from it. But this does not meanone should continue thinking, but simply to watch what has happened, including what happened in the mind and how it feels now; (and to note down things, which don’t become cleared so quickly, and which must be investigated later more carefully.) One also lets the various parts of the body relax one after the other, - maintaining the consciousness as a whole being, and not getting caught up in special feelings. If the mental relaxation has been done properly, the body will relax automatically.
For meetings, job, congresses and other things the same point of view means not stringing one topic on to another in a tiring way, but to take short breaks, - which should not only be used for conversations and so forth, but for observing and digesting, what has happened. After that it is easier to concentrate consciously on a new topic. Finally one can learn, to remain in the present all the way through a meeting. Similarly it is useful, to consciously perceive the contents of a meal while eating . Many similarities between "nutrition" and psychical and mental input can be found.
The process, that can be called "letting previous events calm down", that allows strength to grow for the present and future is not an empty "floating" above the problems (which is also an ability the mind has). It creates a new starting point, from which it becomes fruitful to do deeper work on the psyche. In external matters too, time is not lost through that practice, but actually saved because everything is easier and better than before. Many spiritually thinking people hardly notice what escapes them without this inner rest.
Even this most simple of spiritual experiences, the silence, already contains secrets of greatest spiritual heights. This height presupposes, however, a way to it. Christ stresses that man’s simplicity should be laid open first. His path then leads to increasingly larger and more complicated horizons. In this complexity then the basic simplicity again becomes apparent.
For instance, freshly elaborated or received inner progress can anchor itself more deeply in the concentrated silence, in the sense of an ability that can not become "eaten by moths", see Matthew 4. An ability of this nature can integrate itself into the mosaic of other previously gained abilities etc. This silence can reach a point where the life of the entirety of everything in us, which has become more similar to the divine archetype, now becomes perceptible. This is a way of experiencing the "Born of God anew" within us. We get an inkling of what this means when, with conscious rest, the head feels freer – perhaps combined with a certain insight - the power of the heart becomes more perceptible and the feet become more relaxed. Then something is "through", whatever small partial aspect of life it may be. On the other hand, without this nothing is "through", essential things remain stuck and not worked out. This can cause problems, not only in dreams – that can only be incorporated there in a limited way - but also health problems, among others.
* Christ is a title. In Early Christianity there were different versions. The most wellknown one is "Christos" (Greek), which is the "Messiah" (Hebrew) = "The anointed one". There was also "Chrestos" (Greek) = the good one, the holy one; and - infrequent - "Chrystos" (from Greek "chrysos" = golden /shining).
Reference to a complete version for print, and Copyright Ways of Christ™