Foundational practice:

At some point during the day, you might set aside 20 minutes for a formal meditation period. The bottom line is this, as far as I am concerned: “Show up and shut up!” It’s the commitment, the consistency, my reliability that matters here. It’s not a series of steps to achieve something; there is no outcome, no measure. You are simply present and available to the Transcendent. You can use a few standard spiritual practices, listed below. Set a timer. Avoid assessing success or failure, experience or boredom. Just sit for the duration.

  • Stillness: You might start with some body awareness which allows you to relax and enter a time when you simply don’t move. Not a muscle. Not through any effort, but just by totally relaxing. Appreciate simply being present without doing anything.

  • Breath Prayer: You might then focus on your breathing, just allowing it be what it is, but slowing it down gradually until the out-breath really feels like an emptying and a relaxation. You may find a Mantra that you can repeat with each breath that captures what matters to you spiritually at the moment. You might use: (in) “I”; (out) “am”. This focuses you on two basic spiritual truths – the mystery of “I” and the amazing fact of simply being. I have also used (in) “Present moment”; (out) perfect moment; or (in) “For this moment”; (out) “I am grateful.” Again, I have used (in) “I am here”; (out) “You are here.”

  • Gospel Contemplation or Lectio Divina: These tend to be the heart of the meditation practice. Both are means to deepen our relationship with God and with Jesus. Both are described elsewhere in this website. I might engage in one of these, journalling any feelings or insights that might arise.

  • Staying in the Presence: Sometimes, you will find that you longer need to invoke your imagination in order to experience God’s Presence. Sometimes you merely need to be silent, to quiet the chattering monkey-brain and to bask in a kind of emptiness. This form of meditation is well described in the literature, with authors such as John Main, Lawrence Freeman, Thomas Keating, Cynthia Bourgeault, and many others.

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