What caught my eye just now over morning tea and jellybeans was this part in the book, explaining that the first step of spiritual discernment is just to be aware of what's going on inside:
Much is also said of the impact of contemporary culture in diminishing interior awareness.... Electronic means of filling the quiet spaces continue to multiply.... A secularized worldview questions faith and the reality itself of an interior spiritual life.... While these contemporary factors undeniably increase the difficulty of reaching interior awareness, they themselves are nonetheless expressions and consequences of a deeper resistance to living "within," a resistance that lies at the heart of the entire struggle itself. Blaise Pascal [1623-1662] powerfully explores this deepest resistance in his striking description of diversion, wherein we find his classic affirmation: "I have often said that the sole cause of man's unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room." Diversion, as Pascal explains it, is essentially a flight from our own limitedness.
Boy, do I know what he means. I've wasted years simply being diverted, and I now think that kind of thing-- lots of daydreaming, lots of TV, lack of prayer, lots of useless hobbies, lots of internet (*cough*)-- is much more destructive than suspected because it eats away life. A priest told me, "We want to stay in reality because that's where God is." Pascal didn't mean we need to reject human striving and do nothing. He meant we need to reject useless distractions and fantasies and face ourselves as we are.
You know, just the ads I see over the freeway when I drive to church illustrate that ours is not a society conducive to facing ourselves as we are.
If I were a billionaire, it'd be fun to buy every inch of billboard space and fill it with stuff like Pascal's quote. :)