Tuesday, February 19, 2013

One Hour

Today's reflection talks about one of the few times Christ actually asks for something for Himself; at the Garden of Gethsemane, he tells Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” (Matthew 26:38).  We know the story, and that when Jesus returns, all three have fallen asleep. 

Have you ever spent a full hour in prayer and meditation?  Not an actual church service, where our ancestors have kindly provided us movement to go with our prayers, kneeling, standing, sitting, repeat - but an actual hour, sitting, eyes closed so you may focus on one thing, so you may be still and possibly hear the voice of God?

When you first begin trying, it's very difficult to even make it 10 minutes without feeling drowsy; 15 if you have an overactive brain.  But it is something that you can train your mind to do.  Decide what you're going to focus on - the subject of your prayer or meditation.  Set a timer for 10 minutes (it's longer than you think).  Sit down and be comfortable (being uncomfortable will lead to other problems).  See your mind as a wayward 2-year-old.  It will bring you every interesting, non-interesting, ADD moment you have ever had to show you as a 2-year-old would.  Acknowledge the thought and set it aside for later.  Don't get irritated.  Re-focus on your subject.  Something in your body will itch, begin to hurt or feel uncomfortable.  Breathe deeply and exhale, letting that feeling go - it's not really there.  Re-focus on your subject. 

The first few times, you may feel rather frustrated, like you haven't actually accomplished anything but pacifying a 2-year-old as it throws something down from the highchair and expects you to pick it up and continue the game.  Each time, extend your time by 1 minute.  You'll find that you will re-focus faster, and that eventually, that will become something in the background, as you are able to focus on your subject of prayer and meditation for an entire 10 minutes.  Keep extending. 

Are you able to do as Christ requested of three of His disciples?  Are you willing to do so? 

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