Betty, our inspiration for The Hidden Life Awakened, talks about the difficulty of letting go of “the tribe” and moving towards solitude in order to experience transformation.
“The wilderness of our suffering is not just a place of darkness and temptation, it is the furnace of our transformation through which the false self must move and in which the false self must be embraced. It is a place of conversion where the emotional pain of a lifetime stored in the unconscious is revealed and then gradually let go of. This is not a time of separateness—although it may feel that way—it is a time that links us to the eternal.” The wilderness involves also the silence, and the solitude, and the prayer. It is time alone with God endeavoring to change the way we are thinking—to free ourselves of our conditioning. It is imperative in this process, again, to let go, if you will, of the tribe for a while. I don’t think we can really experience a deep wilderness experience until we have the courage to let go of the tribe. Otherwise we are continually drawn in again and again and again into the old voices, the head tapes, and we don’t create enough space for the new voice, the voice of Love, the God within, to speak to us—and these are difficult choices to make because, particularly in midlife, our plates are full and we are moving at a rapid pace. The wilderness calls us to let go of all that and to be still and to listen. The mystery and the beauty about all this change is that if we are willing to open the space for God to come in, in the wilderness, then unbeknownst to us the changes are taking place. A deep inner spiritual journey cannot be charted. It goes…it can’t be put on a chart or put in straight lines. All this is in God’s timing, and in His way. Our work is to choose the time, the wilderness time, to be alone with Him, and allow the inner process to merge. The process of believing, the process of hoping, the process of loving. All these merge and, as they merge…nothing out here changes, but we change. We change the way we see things. So we are free. We begin to taste the great freedom that Jesus promises us. “And you shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” But we have to come to the Truth before the Truth can set us free. Making space for God, allowing Him to come in. God is a God who is always pressing in—an inflowing God, a God who longs to meet us where we are in the midst of our suffering and our sorrows and to heal us. And, again, our work is simply to open that space and allow that Love to come in. Don’t be afraid of the wilderness experience. Take time to be alone. Take time to be in the solitude, in the silence, and learn to listen to the whisper of the soft sweet voice within, longing to show us a new way to live our life, longing for us to hear it, and to trust it, and truly to become like it. It’s the voice of Love calling us home.