Training for the Inner Journey


By: Harvey Hook

“If we have no silence, God is not heard in our music.” – Thomas Merton

I’ve spent my entire life training for the “what’s next” of life.  Things like: acquiring an education, developing job skills, learning how to handle difficult relationships, and studying the 3, 5 or 7 “things I need to know,” to be successful at fill in the blank.

And yet, it isn’t my Master’s Degree, I use most often day to day, but my 11th grade typing class, which brings more practical value than any course of study I’ve had. And it wasn’t my high school driver’s education class, or my “driver of the year award,” that kept me from getting t-boned by a drunk driver one month after graduation.

So how do we prepare the inner-man, the inner-woman, for the “what’s next” in life, when classroom and job skills training aren’t enough to walk us through the unexpected moments that come our way?

Thomas Merton believes it is in the silence of our time with God, we discover our true selves and create our best gifts for the world.  It is here we create the music of our lives, as we expand the river of internal spiritual reserves, and grow in love, faith, and perseverance.

Silence, or as Richard Rohr calls it, contemplation, is defined as: “deep reflective thought,” or “the action of looking thoughtfully at something for a long time.”  Speaking as one who has spent time there: contemplation is intimidating work, but well worth it.

Richard Rohr states: “Contemplation is no fantasy, make-believe, or daydream, but the flowering of patience and steady perseverance. When we look at the world today, we may well ask whether it can be transformed on the global or even personal level. Our hope lies in the fact that an authentic inner life is going to change the society that we live in, just as we allow it to change us. God seems to patiently participate with us and kindly invite us into a long-term process of growth. Love and life are infinite.”

When you and I pass on from this life to encounter our heavenly Father, it will not be our titles of CEO, receptionist, or grocery store check-out clerk, that others will reflect upon.  It will be the music of our lives, created privately in silence, and expressed publicly in graceful perseverance and love, that we will be remembered.

Here’s the reality, we will all live on in the lives of others after we are gone.  What are you and I writing in the lives of others, while we are here?  How will our story be told when we are gone?

Here’s a hint: “Seek first the kingdom of God, and all these things, will be given to you.” – Jesus

In closing, here is an example of what God’s voice sounds like when He shows up in the silence of our lives.

Be Still 

and know I am God

be still and I will be still with you.


Be still

I am Alpha and Omega

I am your peace, your joy, your protection

I am Love, Hope, Resurrection, and Life

I am the Light of the world

I AM God.


Be still

I want to speak to you

and know I am near

and feel the touch of my hand

and I will touch your soul

and I will work in your life

and you will want to be like Me.


Be still

and discover how I made you

and Peace will come

and I will heal you

and know NO fear

I have conquered fear and sin and death and hell.


Be still

Be still and I will take you up into the heavens

Be still and experience this moment

Be still and I will fill you with me

Be still and know before the world was,



Be still

I love you

Be still.

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