In the spiritual life, the desert is the place where we are stripped of all that normally nourishes, boosts and supports us. Our body, mind, and soul are exposed. We become vulnerable to being overwhelmed by chaos and temptations of every kind. But precisely, because we are so stripped of what we normally rely on, this is a privileged time for God’s visitation. Why? Because all the defense mechanisms, support systems and distractions that we normally surround ourselves with, keep much of God’s grace at bay. Why are we so resistant to desert time?
The desert embraces us and makes us open. It is a time apart from noise, fragmentation, useless talk and worry. It provides a space of silence, meditation, prayerful reading of Scripture, where there are no unnecessary computers, phones or iPods to check on the latest news, the latest Facebook, latest Tweet. All this is more entertaining than going inward for surely we will be confronted at some point with our baggage and shadow stuff lurking just beneath our ordinary consciousness. (Cf. NS)