Saturday, March 15, 2014

Praying in the Present Moment

Today's Lenten "video" is actually for anyone to catch up on anything they've missed this week - so please see the last five blog entries if you've missed anything this week.

Today, we'll continue with the Monastic Wisdom entry - praying in the present moment.  It's about a 30-minute presentation by Br. Geoffrey Tristam of the Society of St. John the Evangelist.

Consider whatever it is in nature that catches your attention today.  Be present, in that moment, studying, seeing the details, pay attention to how you feel in the presence of God right then.

Exercise for centering and being present in prayer (Transcript from the sermon):  Sit down, back straight and comfortable, feet flat on the floor.  Close your eyes, feel the clothes touching your shoulders, feel your back gently against the chair.  Feel your neck.  Gently move your head forwards, backwards, left and right.  Feel your chest expanding as you inhale, and relaxing as you exhale (By the way, if you listen at the link, Br. Geoffrey will be saying this out loud in a guided meditation - it's more effective to listen rather than read - hint, hint.)  Become aware of the feeling in your right arm, your left arm, your right hand, your left hand.  Now open your hands in a receptive and relaxed manner on your lap.  Feel your hands, lightly move each of your fingers.  Feel the soles of your feet touching your shoes.  Feel the air as it passed through your nose as you breathe in.  Feel the air, how it is - is it warm, cool, dry?  Feel whether more air comes through one nostril than another.  Feel how your lungs fill up as you inhale, how your chest relaxes as you exhale.  Focus on your breathing, but don't try to control it or deepen it.  Just become aware of it.  Breathe in and out.  Just be aware of breathing.  Try not to think about anything else.  Be aware of the movements in your body - your lungs, your diaphragm.  As you inhale, say to yourself, I'm now drawing in the air; and as you exhale, I'm now letting it out.  Just be aware of it.  Now think of how the atmosphere is charged with God's presence.  When you inhale the air that supplies oxygen to your blood, as you inhale, feel also how God enters into you, purifying, renewing, strengthening.  As you breathe in, say to yourself, "Come, Holy Spirit."  When we breathe out, we breathe out impurities.  As you breathe out, breathe out the things you want God to take from you - anger, selfishness, pride, anxiety, all the stuff that's built up during the day.  Breathe it out.  Now as you breathe in, say, "Come Holy Spirit", breathe out all the stuff.  Come Holy Spirit, God take away all the stuff.  And now as you breathe out, the air may be thought of as sending out acts of praise and thanksgiving, love and forgiveness.  Breathe out a blessing on everyone in this chapel.  Come Holy Spirit, bless you.  Amen.

What did you think or feel?  How easy or hard was it to become completely focused on one thing, without your mind constantly moving off to consider other things? 

I would challenge you to try this, every day, until being able to be present, in the moment, and breathing out a prayer in the present moment becomes second nature to you...

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