Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Being There

If you find yourself sitting on the edge of your chair and you're not going anywhere it is time to move to your prayer cushion.  I do this all too often.  Call it what you will: stress, preoccupation, anxiety, tenseness, obsession, over-commitment, anxiety, a distracted life...whatever...  When I discover myself sitting on the edge of the chair I know immediately that I'm not at home in this moment.  I'm not relaxed and so, not mindful.  The edge of the chair means I'm not present.  The edge of the chair means I'm kind of nowhere!   
When I find myself sitting on the edge of the chair
 I try to make a change. I've discovered 
that moving away from that unhealthy position 
works wonders for me.
When I return to my project 
it is amazing how much calmer I feel
and how much more presence
 I'm able to bring to the tasks at hand.

So where do I go when I awaken to my lost presence?
Sometimes I move to another chair, 
to a sacred space of prayer, 
or to a window that opens to the earth world.

e.g.  Look at the object below: 
a small green leaf resting on a stone!
Immediately I sense a place of peace within.
Just my simple gaze at this restful image
can restore some kind of normality in me.
I am reminded that deep within is a little altar
where I can place the things that give me anxiety.
The leaf {metaphorically speaking} is my life.

If there is a labyrinth nearby, 
I might walk that sacred journey
bringing to the center my restless inattentiveness.
Movement helps awaken all within me that has
forgotten who I am and what I am about. 

Sometimes I move to a small chapel 
or to a darkened room.
I light a candle and listen with ear of my heart.
It is not the candle that makes God present
but in the quiet I am able to experience
 the One who is always present. 

Or, perhaps, depending on how much time I have, 
I might go outside and find a restful place to just BE.
I ask my thoughts to wait in the wings of my life.
I put my mind to rest.
I abide, dwell, linger, rest, breathe.

It is so simple and so difficult.
The most difficult part is the discipline
to momentarily step away from my distracted life
and obey a deeper, inner presence.

"Silence is like a river of grace inviting us to leap unafraid into its beckoning depths.  It is dark and mysterious in the waters of grace.  Yet in the silent darkness we are given new eyes.  In the heart of the divine we can see more clearly who we are.  We are renewed and cleansed in this river of silence."   -Macrina from Seven Sacred Pauses