Monday, February 27, 2006

becoming centered

there are so many types of prayer. prayer, sometimes, stresses me out. i grew up in a charismatic background where my lovely grandparents would pray for me in tongues sometimes. i would hear and watch people pray strong, beautifully worded prayers. prayer just seemed so complicated. but prayer is an avenue towards growing closer to our creator.

a few years ago, i learned about a practice called centering/contemplative prayer. it's mostly about being still. about growing in fellowship with the holy spirit. i attended an intro workshop at an episcopal cathedral in downtown lex last saturday. it's beautiful how god works things out sometimes. last week, i got in touch with an episcopal priest (female, go figure) to find help with learning more about this type of prayer. she gave me a name and number and from there i was able to get into this workshop.

needless to say, it was an amazing experience. you choose a 1 to 2 syllable word that you gently go back to during your time of silence when your mind wonders. sit comfortably in a chair (i have to sit upright with my feet flat on the floor or i'll fall asleep). close your eyes and silently empty yourself for 20 minutes. it takes about that long to settle. i've been reading romans 8:6 before and subsequent verses after the time.

this is what's been missing in my life, so i've decided to make it an addition to my days during this lenten season. i don't say this to boast, i'm just thankful for a way to grow closer to god and wanted to share.

"many are avidly seeking but they alone find who remain in continual silence...every man who delights in a multitude of words, even though he says admirable things, is empty within. if you love truth, be a lover of silence. silence like the sunlight will illuminate you in god and will deliver you from the phantoms of ignorance. silence will unite you to god himself...

more than all things love silence: it brings you a fruit that tongue cannot describe. in the beginning we have to force ourselves to be silent. but then there is born something that draws us to silence. may god give you an experience of this 'something' that is born of silence. if only you practice this, untold light will dawn on you in consequence...after a while a certain sweetness is born in the heart of this exercise and the body is drawn almost by force to remain in silence"
-isaac of niniveh, a syrian monk

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