Fr. Thomas Colyandro
A Healthy Distraction Can Help
Seeking silence is difficult work for two of many reasons. First, it is completely foreign to the modern way of life. Second, it forces us to discern the truth of our current lives and causes us to re-think and re-shape our future. This process, as we have said elsewhere, demands catharsis, which at times, can feel like a crucifixion. Metaphorically, it is a stretching of the body, soul, and spirit to the point of a kind of emotional, intellectual, physical, relational, and spiritual death and resurrection.
Vigilance is key in this process. You will notice that your emotions can get out of hand, ranging from bliss to depression, and anger to release. That's a natural reaction until such a time that you can regain your composure - or, rather, you give over your interior being (and eventually your external world) - for the sake of entering into theoria.
During this period, it is not only good but recommended to find a healthy distraction. It goes without saying that fresh air and some basic exercise always helps. It keeps the blood circulating and increases cardiovascular function. But you can do others things, too, as long as they are salubrious - calming, health-making, and even enriching.
For example, making a trip to a museum during off-peak hours. The exposure to history, art, science, music, philosophy, and other activities can give you a distraction during a time when you will most certainly feel overwhelmed. Making sure you are there when fewer people are in attendance will help you remain peaceful and focused, There are other activities that also suffice, but they can't be loud, pleasure-seeking, or stoke the passions.
The main point to remember here is that a healthy distraction can aid in the process of catharsis. But the activity needs to feed the soul and the spirit so you can continue to handle the battles important to catharsis.