For a while now, I've been practicing contemplative prayer.
Some people call it centering prayer.
Sometimes I sit in silence and stillness, letting myself feel connected to Love.
Sometimes I move and stretch and breathe my way through a yoga practice.
Sometimes when I'm able, I walk circles, spirals, labyrinths.
I've been listening to Richard Rohr for a couple of years now, and just recently his daily meditations have been talking about the illusion of separateness. Rohr calls the Trinity "the circle of relentless affection." Our idea that we are separate from that circle is what gets us into trouble.
I've also been dipping into Pema Chodron's little book, The Wisdom of No Escape, because the title sounded so perfectly apt for this time in history, when there seems to be no escape and dear God, we need wisdom in it.
This thought of Chodron's seems to echo Rohr to me: "You begin to realize that you're always standing in the middle of a sacred circle, and that's your whole life...Wherever you go for the rest of your life, you're always in the middle of the universe and the circle is always around you. Everyone who walks up to you has entered that sacred space, and it's no accident."
When the world is loud and crazy and clamoring.
When the twittersphere is full of threats and innuendo and amygdala-revving insanity.
When everything around is going absolutely apeshit.
When it's all wrong and bad and awful, that's the time to center.
To remember that we are not separate from Love, but deeply connected.
To remember that we are always in the center of sacred space.
To remember that we are not alone, abandoned, forsaken, forgotten.
We are loved, we are safe, we are centered.
LR Knost is one of my favorite parenting gurus. She says, "When little people are overwhelmed by big emotions, it's our job to share our calm, not join their chaos."
And I think that applies to the world at large right now.
There's a lot of overwhelm.
Everywhere we look, there are big, scary emotions.
And it's our job to share our calm,
not to join in the chaos.
Centering ourselves in prayer, in meditation, in calm, in quiet is not a selfish exercise in escapism, but a way to create space inside ourselves for Love, so that we have Love to give to others.
Contemplative practice builds that sacred space inside of me.
What works for you?