If Noise is a Problem, Does That Mean That I Have to Become a Monk?
It's a fact that more interruptions hinder our work. They take us off track and this causes us to lose momentum and focus.
Interruptions are a form of "noise" in the workplace.
At home, or wherever it is that you pray, noise can also be a problem. Instead of interruptions though, noise comes in other forms when it comes to prayer.
For me, I'm often distracted by my surroundings. Churches have lots of people and I can't help but look around.
- Don't I know that guy over there?
- Is that kid cute or what?
- Will I have to step around that person when it's time for communion?
Silly as these may sound, they form the noise that's in my head when I'm trying to pray in public.
In private, it's slightly better. I like mornings on my porch for praying. It's just me and my Bible and my journal. This is less distracting but there can still be noise- the kids waking up, the lure of social media (just for a quick check), or even the preoccupations of my mind.
So you're battling noise at work (who isn't!) or at home or even in church, does this mean that you should leave it all behind and become a monk?
For a very small percentage of us, the answer is yes. This is a noble calling and one that I admire very much.
For the rest of us, "monkhood" is not an option. We are called to manage our noise and put it in its place.
This requires bravery, discipline and simplicity. And, and here's the good news, it's very doable. I know of many people who are choosing to dial back the noise around them in order to pray more fervently and live a quieter life.
If you're looking for a first (or even a next one) step, I suggest the Digital Sabbath. The Digital Sabbath is one day per week where you leave your phone aside and try to go "off line" for a day. Before you list the many reasons why this is impossible, I simply invite you to try it. One taste and you'll see that it's more practical than you might think.