“The sole cause of man’s unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room.”
— BLAISE PASCAL (1623–1662)
Having wondered for months what the cause of my distracted and oftentimes overwhelmed mindset was, I somehow knew that the old nemesis of busyness had crept in, but I hadn’t noticed the role I was playing in not making enough room for my creative outlet.
My creative outlet is writing, but when I’m rushed it isn’t enjoyable and it isn’t my best work. It becomes rather a chore. Funny to think that something that is voluntary can become a chore – but it’s also core to my call of God.
Central to the distracted and overwhelmed mindset is a person’s relegation of their own time and space to be themselves without priorities clashing all over the place and confusing the mind and paining the heart.
Blaise Pascal had it right. When we have room enough to retreat into ourselves as part of our daily routine, we benefit from giving expression to our creative outlet and happiness is then in the frame.
Staying Quietly In Our Rooms
Despite the exceptions, where we make hermits of ourselves, God clearly designed us to have sufficient space in every day – and certainly every week, via Sabbath – where we have enough control to truly experience peace; without tormenting thoughts of tight schedules, the clash of priorities, and juggling many other people’s needs encroaching.
Indeed we need this time we can stay quietly in our rooms, where we can find ourselves again, in order that we are the best for everybody else; so we can serve them in the fullness of love, without mental or emotional or spiritual constraint. Some people get up at 4AM just to get their quiet time.
Yet no matter how good it is for us to stay quietly in our rooms, it takes an enormous amount of discipline to approach this wisdom and apply it.
Staying quietly within our rooms could be as simple as sitting somewhere quiet, reading one thing (perhaps a Bible passage), without distraction, even with our hands clasped so we cannot do anything other than do one thing.
Without noise or distraction, and only one thing entering our minds, and being that way for a short period – 20 to 60 minutes – and there is such a soul calm about us.
The biggest single gift we can give ourselves, if we are overwhelmed in busyness, is to find time and space daily for a meaningful creative outlet, and thus stay quietly in the room of our soul for that time.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.