I need some tips to find inner silence

Hi everyone:

I’m advancing in my path back to God after avoiding Him and understanding religion superficially for more than a decade. I’m doing better each day at avoiding sin, at discovering new worldly attachments and “new” faults in my soul, and at trying to get closer to Him.

I want to gradually and consistently introduce ‘quiet prayer time’ in my life. I feel that God calls me to it, and that I need to relax a little bit: I have a job in which there are both ‘tranquil’ study moments and quite stressful ones, full of fighting and deadlines, and with an irregular income. I also have some hobbies that I enjoy a lot and that draw me closer to God, but that require a good amount of regular practice (playing musical instruments). I also like to practice competitive tennis in my club. I also suffer from regular migraines, but I usually can keep up with my schedule even if it becomes slightly harder to follow.

All of that is great, and I thank God for giving me the opportunity to enjoy everything I mentioned, from my job to the sports. But with such a ‘life rythm’, I end up having serious problems whenever I want to find both time for prayer and silence into that prayer time. I start to pray and the music I’ve been practicing constantly comes to my mind, then I start thinking on my next deadline… when I can forget it, I start thinking on my strategy for my next match, and the cycle continues until I’ve spent some time in “prayer” without actually having prayed anything.

And in the very few moments I can find some recollection, time passes so slowly that it makes me feel uncomfortable and ‘get out’ from there to come back again to my intense ‘rythm’ and fast changing thoughts.

What tips can you give me to relax myself a bit, to focus, to find recollection and get true good prayer time?

Thank you!

I think practise will help you :slightly_smiling_face: because you’re used to being on the go all the time, it will take time for you to change that mindset. Perhaps don’t jump right into it straight away. Start off by spending just 5 minutes a day sitting quietly, and as you get used to it, gradually lengthen the time. I’d recommend maybe giving yourself some “wind down” time first, like you would when you go to bed, and then focus on inner silence.

I’d also suggest looking at the time you’re choosing to sit yourself down at. Is it a time where you’re raring to go, or where you can still feel the adrenaline rush? Is it a time where you feel you can really concentrate on prayer or is it just a time that fits in with your other activities? Find out what works for you best. Look at the environment you’re trying to focus in, as well. Are there lots of things to distract you? Is it quite busy, or have a lot of bright colours? Could you find yourself a quiet corner to sit in and prevent any external stimuli from distracting you?

Also, it’s okay that other thoughts come into your mind, that’s perfectly normal. The trick is to acknowledge them and then push them away until later. Again, this takes time so don’t worry about having all these thoughts!

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I’ve also heard, rather than pushing those inevitable thoughts away, that you just let them pass by without engaging or holding on to them. Like sitting by a river and watching leaves float past, or laying in a grassy meadow and observing the clouds as a gentle breeze blows them along.

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You have very good advice so far. I agree with it. When a distraction occurs and you become aware of it just gently let it go and focus again on the Lord. This shows that you are choosing the Lord over the distraction. Distractions are to be expected! It takes time and the grace of the Lord to help us become better at this.

Peace!

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Prayer, sacred reading of scripture, meditative reflection. In time you will experience God’s presence in silent contemplation.

Read the writings of St. Teresa Avila.

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Our Priest told us about another Priest who has a huge sign on his TV that says “The narrow way”. In other words he watches NO TV at all and he takes the narrow way by spending that time instead in prayer, scriptural reading, spiritual reading. I’d also stay off the internet, off the phone off any electronic device. Just prayer, solid good reading and if at all possible time in Adoration in front of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament is the BEST time you will spend here on earth besides Holy Mass.

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Well, here are two sites that I use.

https://divineoffice.org/welcome/

Here is what I recommend. If you have a tablet, pray laying down in the morning when you first wake up and in the evening when you go to bed. I have bad knees and back, so I pray laying down. Both sites do a good job of guiding you through the prayer. In Divine office, I do the morning prayer and the evening and night prayer and especially the daily reading.

When and if my mind starts to wander, I think, “stop” then go back and focus my thoughts on the prayer. Again, during the day when I don’t like a train of thought I blink my eyes and think, “stop.” I usually pray with my eyes closed and will squint my eyes and think stop.

I’m not certain if this will be feasible in your life, but if you can before bed time one hour before hand have a wind down time where you are doing nothing but maybe reading the Bible or something from a Saint. This wind down time is there for you to not engage in activity, like hobbies or work, to settle your mind. If not an hour, maybe thirty minutes.

Again, I think part of COVID was a forced wind down where people had to adjust and either struggle or be comfortable with themselves in contemplation. Also, I find Jazz music very contemplative, intricate and soothing. I don’t recommend other music but Jazz.

Thank you very much everyone!

I’ll try to put in practice some of your tips. The idea of reserving some time before bed to “unwind” sounds great.

@CajunJoy65 That is funny, although if it works, it’s great. I watch some sports in tv, but my main distractions come from the internet. Although it has some good things and I need it for some work purposes, I find most of my usage detrimental for my spiritual health. Much useless information, huge stimulation, little spiritual profit.

Take some consolation that the holy desire to silent prayer i.e. stillness, contemplative prayer, unceasing Prayer of the Heart… These are all divinely inspired desires and therefore a call for you to come closer to Jesus. Then, I would, like Cajun stated above, pray to eliminate some of the distractions you have in your life: TV, Internet etc. Small steps. Granted you are not in mortal sin, as mortal sin will prevent you from the peace and grace of the contemplation you seek, I’d then desire to find time (more time) to sit in front of our Lord in the Adoration Chapel (tabernacle is sufficient :wink: ). Then, simply be still and ignoring the things that pop up in your mind (remember, you cannot comprehend God with your own efforts… He must communicate Himself to you through His Word) and know God is with you. Trust in His Love and Goodness. Humbly admit that you cannot do this work without Him. Believe He will lead you to the Sacred Rest of Contemplative Prayer.

I find the spirituality and practice of The Jesus Prayer very helpful! However, for a more western practice, perhaps read the Cloud of Unknowing (my spiritual director called this book “the poor man’s St. John of the Cross”) and the Book of Privy Counselling. You will find these to be great spiritual treasures.

Thank you for your advice. I definitely need to detach myself from many distractions. I’m not in a state of mortal sin as far as I know. But I slip very easily. Through the last decade, God has been trying to teach me humility through habitual sin, and thanks to my inability to beat it, I came back to regular confession and to a higher desire of intimacy with God.

I have never tried to consistently pray the Jesus prayer. It gets a bit tiresome. But I may try it again, specially during hard days. I’ll also search for the books you mention. I read some parts of the first one some time ago, and I found it interesting. I don’t know about the last one.

I would try to find a good, holy (gentle) Priest to be your spiritual director who himself is in Love with God deeply and “practices” Contemplative Prayer; I’d do this in order to help you on your journey. Contemplative Prayer is a gift; that’s why I put practice in quotations. It’s not something you can do… It’s honestly a work of God that you simply, like Mary, say “yes” to. While you do make yourself “available” and say “yes” to God, even these actions are gifts of grace. Contemplative Prayer is rather difficult to try and teach, at least it is difficult for me as I’m still learning to allow God to work in me, through me and around me. I do not pretend to have become a master or that I have come to full maturity in Christ (Eph 4:13). I myself still need to “let go and let God” in several areas of my life. However, there are things we can do to respond to the holy desire that God Himself has given us and that is some of the above mentioned things that were said. I can, however, say that your desire for this Sacred Silence is a gift from God and should be considered a calling to this work you desire! :slight_smile:

One thing, that is rather simple, to help in all this is to know that when you are praying, for example, the “Our Father”, it is actually God Praying it through you. You’re simply saying “Yes!” Keep that in mind next time you slowly pray it and go deep into the words of our Lord who taught it :wink:

I hope you find encouragement in this! Grace and Peace to you! Praised be Jesus Christ!

You can look up how to mediate by Francis De Sales too. We are always in the presence of God.

SaintsPrayers.Net › St. Francis de Sa…
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St. Francis de Sales - How to Meditate - + Saints’ Prayers

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