Contemplative Counseling 2

Let us, then, labor for an inward stillness –

An inward stillness and an inward healing;

That perfect silence where the lips and heart

Are still, and we no longer entertain

Our own imperfect thoughts and vain opinions,

But God alone speaks in us, and we wait

In singleness of heart, that we may know

His will, and in the silence of our spirits,

That we may do His will, and do that only! [sic]1

“Be still and know that I am God.”2

Being still sounds easy enough. I mean it’s just sitting quietly in a place without noise and distraction, right? Not quite. What is meant is having a quiet and peaceful heart and mind, a meditative mind focused and un-distracted from worries and anxiety. Only then can we hear the voice of the Spirit speaking to us. We are told that He will send the “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.”3

Therefore, it is important to continually be quiet in spirit because this is where we, as counselors, we find our peace in the midst of turmoil, calm in the presence of chaos, and joy and comfort where there is sadness and depression. It is where we find the answers to help our clients find peace and direction for their lost souls, to find their way back from despair and turmoil.

In our conversations with our clients, we “need to learn ways of looking deeply into the hearts of people… this contemplative seeing illumines our true nature that connects us all”4 I like the way Friar Vincent de Counsenongle puts it;

“…[it is] knowing how to look for and understand what cannot be seen; failures, suffering, hopes… It means to always make present now the human and divine gaze of Christ upon the crowd, the sick, all who are possessed by the evil of money, injustice, hatred… This contemplation should be the privileged point of union in our lives between faith and the world.”5

In other words, It is our duty to be, to be an example of healthy ways of living, be compassionate and caring, to be present in contemplative listening while in tune with the Spirit of God and looking deep into the worries, cares, wounds, and joys of our clients. It is also our duty to ourselves to maintain a lifestyle that demonstrates, witnesses, the character of God. Whatever else we do, we are called to be witnesses of what we have seen and heard, of the things God has done for us. With all He has done, how can we not.

  1. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Contemplative Counselor; Fortress Press, 2011, p 64
  2. New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Jn 16:13). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
  3. Ibid, Psalm 46:10
  4. Nolasko, Rolph R. jr; The Contemplative Counselor; Fortress Press, 2011; p 61
  5. Ibid

David Hooker