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Burnout, Prayer, and Hope

Hello friend,

Teaching prisoners how to pray and meditate as a way of reducing violence in their lives is a ministry of Bo Lozoff, Director of humankindness.org. Bo in Its a Meaningful Life- It Just Takes Practice says, “When we integrate committed service to our lifestyle, the temptation may arise to lighten up on our (quiet time) personal spiritual practices. But I believe that's what leads to burnout for so many people. Trying to dedicate yourself entirely through outward activity, no matter how much you seem to be helping others, will sooner or later chew you up and spit you out if you don't take time for inner silence as well. It's like trying to breathe out all the time without breathing in. How long can that last? Be sure to breathe in, too, so that you're helping others from a deeper place (p. 295).”

Thomas Keating, in his book on Christian meditation, Open Heart Open Mind, says, “The principal effects of meditation are experienced in daily life, not in the periods of meditation itself." I always imagined meditation purpose was for some kind of euphoric experience. A friend shared that they can always tell when I miss my quiet time by the way I relate to them. This confirms the truth in what Keating says.

I have been working at trying to keep a quiet time discipline since the 70’s. There have been lots of times when I started over again. Like learning a sport, it takes lots of practice. I have read lots of books on quiet time over these years; little by little I work the wisdom of the sages into my quiet time practices.

When I started my peacemaking, one of my secret fears was that I would become burnout, cynical, and hopeless. But to my surprise I have more energy for peacemaking and hope for peace than when I started. It has become easier to miss a meal than my quiet time. My sense is that keeping a disciplined quiet time of meditation, reading and prayer has made a lot of the difference.

May this encourage you to take time to be quiet regularly.

Peace, Jim

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