The analogy is given of one running in a river. As long as one continues to move, the mud is stirred up and the water is cloudy. However, when the person stands still, the silt settles and the water becomes clear. Thus it is with life with God. As long as we allow it, the franticness of life keeps us in a cloudy state. When we are still, the silt of our lives settles and we are able to listen and to see clearly.
I have a now familiar experience when I take a silent retreat. It takes a while for me to let go of the happenings in my life–my work, my relationships, the problems with which I deal. It typically takes about twenty-four hours to do so. This, along with getting there, has to be intentional on my part. I am intent about carving space out of my life for the retreat and then actually going on retreat. I cannot remember a time that I did not experience multiple hurdles that could have prevented me from going on every retreat. Then, when I get there, I have to be purposeful in being present to the retreat. I take care of any business that cannot wait until after the retreat, I let those at home know I will not be accessible by phone or email, then I settle in to my room, grab my journal and head out onto the property.
It is easy to relate to the previously-mentioned analogy of walking in the river. The mud does not settle until we are still. We have frantic lives that demand much time, energy, and emotion. The idea of being still sounds refreshing. But it does not happen without perseverance and determination. No one will hand us this opportunity. In fact, even those who love us will work against its success. Thus, a class to assist us in incorporating this into our lives. As we will see during our time together it was a frequent discipline of our Lord. Although that is rationale enough, we will explore the reasoning behind silence and solitude and will have various experiences in the practice.
This class will be an education and experience in silence and solitude with God. The heart of the class is the daily assignments. This is where transformation takes place. Each lesson will have a few pages of narrative to lay the groundwork and then you will be given assignments for the week. There are no required books for this class, but there will be recommended books with some of the lessons. If you would like the entire list at the start Click here.
The six-week class offers lessons on the following topics:
|1||Introduction to Silence and Solitude|
|2||The Impact of Silence|
|3||The Benefits of Solitude|
|4||Varying Traditions of Guiding Silent Retreats (Ignatian, Benedictine, etc.)|
|5||Community in Silence|
|6||Contexts- Retreat Centers and Self-Made Retreats|
Jackie L. Halstead, Ph.D., LMFT, is the founder and CEO of Selah. Her doctorate isin Human Development and Family Studies with a specialization in Marriage and Family Therapy. She has been a therapist for thirty years, specializing in clergy and their families. Dr. Halstead has two certificates from Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation in Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups and Retreats and in Spiritual Guidance. She has been speaking, teaching, and leading retreats on spiritual formation, contemplative prayer, relational and mental health issues for the past twenty years at the national and international levels.
Note: You are welcome to sign up for this single class or join us for the year’s Contemplative journey of six classes. You can begin with any class. If you have questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org