Why do we need quiet spaces? Why not just plop down on a park bench, close our eyes at our desk at work or sit on a chair at home and meditate?
Why? Because no one else is doing that.
We (those of us who live in the West) don’t live in a culture that says chill, take it easy, slow down. We live in a hyper world. We run passed park benches. We rush to the finish line at work...a finish line that always evades us because there’s another and another. We push ourselves and our partners and our kids at home...
Go! Go! Go!
If we don’t have physical models to show us how to slow down, then we need physical spaces. We need meditation rooms and quiet spaces, indoor and outdoor sanctuaries where there is only one rule and one expectation...to be quiet.
Sometimes we get a rush from the race, but often we need a break. And many of us leave a fast and furious office to be greeted by a just as harried home life.
We retreat to the beach or the mountains for vacation only to be greeted by the same deadlines and the same pressures that we ran away from...and nothing has changed.
We need spaces to rejuvenate and recharge at work, at home, in public spaces like what Ebenezer Chapel will provide.
We need to tune out and tune in to the quiet. Not for two hours a day or five days a year, we only need a few minutes every day, all year, every year. We need quiet spaces where we can go to sit and breathe and be still...with no one to answer to, with no one to direct, with no one to push or pull.
Imagine this: You’re speed walking down a city sidewalk pushing your way through the crowd...people yelling, horns honking, lights flashing. You can smell the car exhaust and feel the radiant heat from the concrete and the buildings.
Now, step off to the side, take the stairs underground to a quiet space that has been built just for you...just to sit. Everything is muted. Maybe you hear a faint whirr or a distant hum, but you’re in a different world. This is a world where nothing matters but you and you. You and your quiet world. You and the Earth. You and the rock that lines the walls. You and the music you make in your mind. This is a quiet space. This is a sacred space. And you remember you. You close your eyes and breathe deeply. After a short stay, something moves you to get up and leave. You slowly make your way up the stairs and reenter the world above. But something is different. Your world’s not different. You’re different. You found you again. And now the world is purring, not hissing. The cars are gliding, not careening. The sounds and smells are comforting, not revolting.
It doesn’t take much for you to find you again... It doesn’t even take a quiet space. But quiet spaces sure do help. So until our western world embraces 15 minutes of daily stillness for all, we should embrace and encourage public and private quiet spaces where we can turn down the noise and turn up our internal rhythm...a rhythm more potent and more powerful than words could express here.