Leaving Twitter

I began “twittering,” over six months ago, intending to draw attention to a retreat center and potential monastery (http://www.saintlaurenceosb.org/index.html). Emerging from my twitters grew enjoyable conversations along with definite consumption of my time. Most who have and are still twittering know about the time issue.

At first, like everyone else, I strove to connect with a large number of fellow twitters. Out of that group I hoped to extract a few who had both the interest and money to invest in further developing the St. Laurence Retreat Center. My investment of time has drawn some attention to the St. Laurence Retreat Center, but I’m still seven thousand under the bare minimum, I had set. Right now, I figure that the proverbial snowball has a better chance.

Over the past two weekends I was at that retreat center as a frocked Benedictine oblate. Those visits were a wonderful time. At the last retreat, the speaker advocated a simplified and restricted form of the Jesus prayer. Most of the people around the room were, I think, hearing about this fashion of prayer for the first time.  So then, his restriction made sense. However, within a minute or so, he rejected ever stepping further into such a life of prayer life. His, stance triggered an unexpected challenge in me.

I walked away disappointed by his rejection of this normal Eastern Orthodox fashion of mysticism.  After leaving the sanctuary, I walked on down the narrow Rocky Mountain valley giving myself time to try and accommodate to his stance. An hour, or so, later I felt an unexpected yielding within me. Emerging from the restriction he had voiced were glimpses of my own. His stance drew my attention to the shallow water I had wadded in for years.

The “complexities” of God’s activities had just rubbed my nose in my own resistances. At first indirectly, but now directly, a hesychastic tendency has been materializing in me. Its’ tailoring of consciousness has influenced me over the past three decades.

In general, westerners are more likely to know about Zen Buddhism than Hesychasm. That is wonderful since Zen Buddhism gives a partial introduction to the hesychastic fashion of praying.  Like Zen Buddhism there is, shall we say, a refashioning of self.  Core to the hesychastic fashion of walking with God is the Jesus prayer. It was in that prayer that my nose was rubbed.

So far, I have peacefully and childishly played at the prayer’s needed refashioning of self. What I had not, till this past weekend, given up were my “unconscious” resistances. Now, though, it is the “non-conscious” which has taken hold of me at unanticipated levels and from unexpected directions. I have chosen for years the hyphenated word “non-conscious” as my means of portraying consciousness as a restriction and not an openness. As I understand hesychasm, it is a letting go of how I have learned to connect myself with reality.

Across a couple of days after the retreat, I began realizing how deeply I am attracted to the hesychastic fashion of walking with God. What I experienced that weekend dramatically pointed me toward a remodeling of self I had not anticipated. Because of neurosurgeries eight years ago, I have to be careful in fashioning his daily life. Twittering, without my problems, requires a good bit of effort to keep shifting attention. This hasn’t been bad for me. It is now, though, one of several things that I need to set aside, if I’m going to test myself in this fashion of prayer. Because of the speakers comment I came to the point of realizing that I needed to cull out twittering. So then, I am giving myself permission to step away from something that is enjoyable so that I can finish taking another step.

To those of you who have given me great pleasure by twittering with me I apologize, without shame.  It is not you that I stepping away from, I am stepping into a way of life that I have thought about and played in for years.  I am planning on maintaining this WordPress page for the foreseeable future. It serves as a means, along with email to keep connected with people. I will also be tracking the blogs that I know about.

Thank you for the conversations.

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About the post

Church, Eastern Orthodox, hesychastic

16 Comments

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  1. CYnthia McWilliams 10/23/2009 — 9:50 pm

    I totally understand and appreciate your stance, ‘tho I will miss you. Best of luck in your seeking, I think you are wise. Please send me a link to your word press page. Cindy

  2. I’ll miss your tweets, but I’ll be stopping here to “see” you from time to time. I understand your new direction and hope it brings you the closeness with God that you seek.

    Teresa

  3. I will miss you as well. It takes courage to follow and do whar you know you must. I am inspired by you to do the same. Thanks.

    • I’ve linked up to your, shall we say blogs, on examiner.com I would love to have you occasional chat with me on my wordpress page. My goal is limit but not, so far exclude these conversations.

      God is blessing us. The question is whether we will allow ourselves to see God’s activities in our lives as blessings when His actions violate our desires.

  4. Thankyou for sharing your twitter experience. I was recommended to use it by friends and am trying it out, but big question marks remain – especially re. time versus spiritual value. I was moved also by your experience of the shallowness of western church response to the Jesus prayer. It reflects my general frustration with the shallow response to all things Orthodox!

  5. I can relate to your struggles. Living as a hermit, I really use Twitter to alert others with news and items for the Pro-Life cause, devotion to Mother Mary and for the glory of God. My life would seem to be useless without these communication tools. Twitter and Facebook can be frustrating sometimes but it’s all I have right now to be united with the Body of Christ!
    Blessings+
    Deacon John
    http://deaconforlife.blogspot.com/
    http://deaconjohn1987.blogspot.com
    http://twitter,com/traddeacon/

  6. Yes, twitter can be very distracting and is definitely not where you want to go for achieving those moments of serenity we both know and love. But we twitterers will miss you! I’ve subscribed to your blog so I can keep up with you and stay in touch.

  7. ‘may the Lord bless thee and keep thee’ brother … as you walk in His Grace and sit at His feet. — (you are correct. we share a common conclusion.) – jeff.

  8. ButterflyBeacon 10/24/2009 — 8:29 pm

    Now that I’m home and have my computer I’ve linked to your blog and hope to keep connected here. May God bless your journey and draw you closer to Him in all ways. Blessings.

  9. I will continue following here and will add this blog to my blogroll. Thank you for the heads-up!

  10. God grant you many years!

    While I will miss your presence on Twitter, your reasons are good. I, too, need to cut back on my time there and spend more time with our Lord.

    Eric

  11. I have been away from Twitter for a while and came by to check-up on you (so to speak). I have appreciated knowing you (even in such a limited way as Twitter permits).

    I spend my time online now purely for professional reasons (I’m a technology consultant) and to publish poetry. So far, this seems an unequivocal improvement for my spiritual life.

    Lord be merciful.

    • Thanks for taking a moment or two to peek at me. It helps having people send me occasional comments and/or questions. Without those I do tend to lose track of people.

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