Searching for the Voice Within

Rules dictate our lives. Do, don’t. Go, stop. Sit, stand. We live by the rules of our jobs, our families, our communities. Someone sets an expectation for us, and our days are filled with striving to meet it. The work of our lives is assessed by how well we followed the rules. Good, bad. Right, wrong. Too much, too little. Same, different.

And inevitably we grow tired. We realize that the words filling our heads and our hearts belong to the rule-makers. We forget what our own voice sounds like. We lose track of where we are, and we certainly don’t remember how we got there.

It is a universal human experience—that moment when we stop and let the words, expectations, and rules settle at our feet—that moment when all that is left in the dust is a series of painful, searching questions:

“How do we come to choose what it is that we spend our days doing? Would we choose it again if we could? Did we choose it today, or has it simply carried us along somehow?”
-Robert Benson
Whether we come to these questions begging for answers on our knees or merely feel the deep whisper of our inner voice pulling us back to these words, we all know when the time has come to take time for ourselves, to listen to our voice, to live by our own rule.

Retreat leader Robert Benson and Scarritt Bennett Center invite you to do just that at “The Rule of Saint Whatever-Your-Name-Is: Finding Balance in the Spiritual Life,” a two-day retreat that will guide individuals through the spiritual practice of creating and sustaining their own Rule of Life. With the Rule of Saint Benedict as a guide, participants will spend time in silent contemplation, guided reflection, and sacred liturgy to work to restore a rhythm and a balance to the spirituality of their work, prayer, rest, and community.

Robert Benson, esteemed spiritual writer and public speaker, welcomes all who feel the call to restoration and balance:

“I hope we can help each other see that we are meant to live one life, not two — a real life here and a spiritual life over there.
I hope we can help each other begin to learn to make realistic and practical choices about the balance in our lives.
I hope we can help each other not be afraid to build a rule for our lives. We are going to live by one anyway, it may as well be one that feeds our souls and holds us close to the things we hold dear. It may as well be the Rule of Saint Whatever-Our-Name-Is.”

And we hope to see you there.

The retreat will begin at 5:30pm on Monday, July 13 and go to 1:00pm on Wednesday, July 15. Register online here.

rbenson_hdr_index2Robert Benson writes and talks about living a more contemplative and prayerful life in the modern world. He has written more than a dozen books about the search for and the discovery of the Holy in the midst of our everyday lives. His work ranges from books on prayer and spirituality, to travel and gardening, to baseball and the Rule of St. Benedict. They include Between the Dreaming and the Coming True, Living Prayer, In Constant Prayer, The Echo Within and his most recent work, Dancing on the Head of a Pen. His work has been critically acclaimed in publications as diverse as The New York Times, Publishers’ Weekly, American Benedictine Review and dozens more. He is a lifelong churchman, an alumnus of The Academy for Spiritual Formation, a member of The Friends of Silence & of the Poor, and was recently named a Living Spiritual Teacher by Spirituality & He lives and writes and pays attention in Nashville, Tennessee. More information is available here.

carolineCaroline McReynolds-Adams is an Assistant Director of Education, Programming and Connections at Scarritt Bennett Center. She works primarily with Spiritual Formation programming which includes programs such as Tuesdays in the Chapel, Vespers and All That Jazz, Poet’s Corner, and the Laskey Gallery. She holds a Masters of Divinity and a Certificate in Religion and the Arts in Contemporary Culture from Vanderbilt Divinity School.