Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Solitude, Silence, and Paul Tournier
Have I mentioned before about how fascinating this collection of writings was? This excerpt, especially so. Dr. Paul Tournier was a doctor, psychoanalyst, and intensely spiritual man, who lived and worked in Geneva, Switzerland. He was interviewed in 1984, and his remarks were truly exceptional, simple, and profound.
I sense that Dr. Tournier was an intensely private person. (Yes, I did read one of his books, years ago, but I can’t remember for the life of me which one it was.) His responses were personal. I can tell that he was making himself available for all of us younger believers in God.
For example, the interviewer asked him to define silence. His answer: “For me, above all it is a waiting. I wait for God to stimulate my thoughts sufficiently to renew me, to make me creative instead of being what St. Paul calls ‘a tinkling cymbal.’” 
I see Dr. Tournier (in my mind’s eye) as sitting quietly, calmly, unflappable. I am not sure whether that is correct, but that is what I sense: “Under psychoanalysis, there is a moment when the subject feels silence weighing on him terribly. He longs for the doctor to say something to him. Silence has the power to force you to dig deep inside yourself.” 
Regularly, every day, Dr. Tournier meditated and prayed. That is impressive, no matter who accomplishes it. Thank you, doctor, for your understanding, for your patience, and for your silence. Truly, a gift.
Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.
 Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 161.