Less, Lord!

May again:

It often occurs to me that people living in our modern, hectic civilization, amid the constant din of radio and TV, subjecting themselves to every kind of stimulation whether of the passive sort of TV or the more active sort of conversation, work and activity, that people with such constant preoccupations find it exceedingly difficult to let thoughts from the unconscious depths break through… When an individual is afraid of the irrational – that is, of the unconscious dimensions of experience – he/she tries to keep busiest, tries to keep ‘noise’ going on about them.

The avoidance of the anxiety of solitude by constant agitated diversion is what Kierkegaard, in a nice simile, likened to the settlers in the early days of America who used to beat on pots and pans at night to make enough din to keep the wolves away.”

Which I would just caveat with Eckhart’s advice:

Spirituality is not to be learned in flight from the world, by fleeing from things to a place of solitude; rather we must learn to maintain an inner solitude regardless of where we are or who we are with. We must learn to penetrate things, and find God there.”

And as the cacophony of the faithful rises with the plea for “More!”, I’ve often wanted to pray to this God of screens and always-on connectivity, “Please, less Lord. Less.”


4 responses to “Less, Lord!”

  1. Mmmh… “penetrate things”. Like it.

  2. You ever heard John Cage about NOISE?
    He basically believes in positive and negative noise, how some modern noises literally damage you with vibrations and stuff, then some things traditionally considered “noise” can aid meditation, like a car alarm (erk!?).
    He was a man fascinated with silence and its use in sound-art and the deliberate, ritualised use of noise.
    Just sprung to mind.

  3. Solitude … anywhere? … expressing the peace of Christ …

    Kester Brewin offers another interesting post, “Less Lord!”. What struck me was his caveat to May with Eckhart, “Spirituality is not to be learned in flight from the world, by fleeing from things to a place of solitude; rather we must learn to maintain…

  4. It’s true that spirituality doesn’t consist in fleeing from the world, even if it’s noisy. But often the only way to find that “inner solitude” is to first find some physical solitude. Space away from the noise is essential if we are going to bring any kind of “inner solitude” back into the noise.
    Your “less Lord” petition reminded me of something I heard from Brian Doerksen. In the midst of the constant cries of “Freedom!” a few years ago (much in the same vein as “More Lord!”), he said he always felt like shouting instead “Restraint!”