Gather Round a Treasure: ‘Go to your cell and your cell will teach you everything’ – Part Two

Written by Trevor Miller

You might also be interested in – ‘The Geordie Story’ and ‘Go to your cell… Part One’

So, how do we go to the cell?

Here are some practical pointers which have emerged over the years as we have continued to explore the heart of monastic spirituality.

Listen to Catherine Askew reading this teaching aloud HERE

First: recognise that life is a journey. Perhaps you’ve heard Trevor Miller talk about how ridiculous a notion it is to suggest that we might be able to take one enormous breath, or have one enormous meal, and thereby have all the air or food we need for the whole of life. Similarly, our seeking after Jesus and his heart for us is an ongoing process, a journey for life. Our annual renewal of vows reflects this.

Second: find a rhythm which works for you, and enables you to make time for solitude. This is the genius of our Rule! It doesn’t prescribe how that has to be, but rather it outlines the components which enable you to live the life which God has called you to.

But a non‐negotiable part of that Way for Living is to find time to create and maintain a balance – otherwise we are lost! Solitude does not mean ‘time to do my own thing’ – be careful that we don’t turn it into some false pious masquerade which is really revealing nothing more than a misplaced view that we have a ‘right to some time to myself’ … but time for God. This is easy to say, and often hard to live by … often we can find ourselves ‘all at sea’, we lose our way sometimes, and find that things get out of kilter. But always there is that ‘calling us back’ and the knowledge that we are accepted by God.

Rhythm is part of the natural order of things, so it should be no surprise that we find it essential to life: we see it in the seasons, in migrations, and in the very act of breathing! We need to find a way, and a place, and an opportunity to turn our heart towards God. It will be different for each of us.

Some ways which work for some are:

  • a special place – a room , a shed in the garden, a cupboard under the stairs, or a chair…
  • by taking a walk
  • establish a routine we follow at a specific time of day, which works for us
  • we might use symbols, such as a candle, a stone, or a ribbon to bring us to that place, wherever and whenever we are.
  • Some even report finding this place in the car! The way which works for you is unique to you!

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