|A Few Considerations
It might be easiest at first to consider that most of
us prefer to use one or two senses rather than the others. So if, for some
reason, the way you were taught doesn't seem to have ever worked,
you might think for a bit about whether you tend to describe things in
terms of what you see, or of what you feel - emotionally- or of what you
Whatever you decide makes you feel most comfortable and
devotional, there are some important rules to follow.
* Keep your spine straight so your breathing is free
* Give yourself as much help as possible.
-a place and position
you associate with doing this is a good start.
-as much freedom
from interruption as possible.
The Way We Are
If you decide that you are a visual person then
you will make sure that what is around you tends to settle you. An icon,
something to look at before you close your eyes, perhaps a candle.
You may find that when you close your eyes, and begin
to drift down, you will become aware in a relaxed way of the pleasant darkness
inside your eyelids. Bring your 'sight' back to what a wonderful book once
called 'The Dazzling Darkness', whenever you discover that your attention
has drifted. But above all, don't fuss with the 'drift'.
If you decide that you are a verbal person
then you may well decide to use a mantra. You will find at least one on
these pages. Use the words, but don't consider their meaning. There is
a vast difference from repeating the same word or phrase over and over
in order to still the mind, and give it something to distract it, while
your attention goes toward 'That' which lies within and is transcendent
to it, and the 'many words'. Come to that, there is a vast difference between
a mantra, and between 'thinking your way through a famous prayer' - that
is meditation. Try to remember that it is not that God needs help to hear
us, rather that we need help to be quiet enough to hear God.
Similarly you may find it much easier to become aware
of your own breathing.
Or you may use a combination of all these things, timing
the word or phrase to your breath, or to your sight.
Do not reject or censor thoughts, they may seem to be
trivial, but it is almost certain that they contain what is really important
to you. Similarly, don't follow them, as a puppy follows one smell after
another. Very gently be aware of them, and let them float through you,
as bubbles in a fish tank.. pretty and distant. You may feel that you ought
to be praying for world peace, and find yourself praying instead about
Aunt Ethel's bunions. Be at peace then, and notice that for the time
being, the bunions have priority, then gently bring yourself back to the
Sometimes you will become aware that one of these thoughts
is like an urgent message. A need to intercede, to hold a person, or a
place in the arms of God with you. Then do so, either by picturing them,
or by alternating their name with the Word or Phrase, or by holding their
name in the Dazzling Darkness, until you feel the release or timing their
name to your breath and the 'thought of God'.
Sometimes the most distracting thing will be a feeling.
Perhaps your knees, like mine, are giving out (smile). Don't fidget, it
only makes it worse. Just hold the sore bit with your mind, or imagine
yourself breathing in and out through the affected part, and as you breathe
in relax, and as you breathe out, feel the discomfort go into the earth.
Then return your mind, and your vision to the word or the dark, and give
yourself to the One who waits in the silence. Pretty much the same applies
if your feeling is an emotion.
This is your time to sit with Him, to listen to Him. Even
feelings of great love, or joy, or tears, or sorrow, are to be treated
in the same way. Not for any of the gifts, not for fear, not for great
wisdom or healing do we do this, but for love, and because we have been
given the gift of wanting to be with him.
After a little practice - (about as many minutes as you
are old - twice a day at maximum, until you are twenty) - you will find
that as you go about your business you are aware of that presence, within
and without you. That you see the world differently.
The practice of the Presence is infectious.