Managing self during COVID pandemic
December 17, 2020
Fr Alan Hall celebrates 10th anniversary & an expanding priestly journey
December 18, 2020


Last week I sat down to write, but I couldn’t. There were so many thoughts and so many emotions that I found it difficult to focus on writing a convincing piece.

I chose a topic, sat down and started writing but it was without feeling, so it was a challenge to continue. For a few days after that experience, I was mentally and emotionally preoccupied with tasks I had to accomplish and so it pretty much felt like I was in a state of disorder.

Then it came: write about contemplation.

Contemplation simply is deep, reflective and prayerful thought. And it is what I have done all my life. Growing up in the countryside with no electricity therefore no TV and not much entertainment, I lived in my head, and I have learnt a lot. Contemplation is also a journey, the path, to self-awareness and true knowledge. Knowledge comes from God. I have experienced true knowledge from contemplation, having connected to the source. Many conclusions I came to via contemplation, I later confirmed in books. Experiences continuously bring us into a fuller awareness of God. Some of the greatest things that I have learnt have come from quiet contemplation.

As a child, I spent several hours every day dreaming and having internal dialogue. As a teenager, I used to have audible conversations with myself while I trekked up the hill to my home in Toco after school. I used to pretend that everything around me was my audience and I would let my thoughts flow as they came and sometimes a singular thought would come and I would literally stand in my shoes and wonder. Sometimes I would sit on the bare earth and contemplate the world around me. Sometimes a whole 15 minutes later I would continue the trek home. What was just under a ten-minute journey would sometimes take an hour because contemplation takes time. It may seem like you’re doing nothing but you will soon find that you’re doing everything.

Contemplation is a type of death. It is one where you deconstruct and destroy prevailing ideas and create new ones. I have died several times. The new idea is a rebirth, a resurrection of sorts. In contemplation, you discard feelings and thoughts that don’t connect with your experience. Each contemplation brings with it new ideas, a renewal. It is also from whence comes our inner strength. So many times the noise around us weakens us. If only we could find that space to sit in silence and unburden. And like Mary sit at Jesus’ feet (cf Luke 10)

Can you imagine the outcome if we all saw contemplation as the path? If we took the time? Can we fathom the depth of transformative power we can have? Our personal relationships? What about our families? Our schools and education system? Our society as a whole? I think that contemplation is the key!