By Kathy Keary
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You may have noticed in my reflections, I frequently encourage the contemplative practice of resting in silent prayer. The value of this type of spiritual practice cannot be overstated. Jesus instructed his apostles to go to their inner room to pray in secret. The inner room is the recesses of our heart where the Spirit resides. In silent prayer, we commune with the indwelling presence of God. The fruits of this type of prayer are truly transformative and life-giving.
People are often discouraged by the distractions that occur when attempting to rest in the Divine. This is commonly known as “monkey mind.” Distractions, when engaged in the prayer of silence, are part of life — a part of being human.
When we realize that we have been carried away in thought, there are methods we can employ to re-center ourselves in the divine embrace. In the upcoming weeks, we will explore different ways to redirect our focus to the present moment — a moment of silence and stillness. I invite you to explore these different methods with me to see which one or ones speak to you. If you have been practicing the prayer of silence for some time, you might want to explore other ways to re-center yourself to see if a new way enriches your experience.
Today, I invite you to allow a focus on your breath to bring you back to communing with the Divine when you find yourself attached to a distraction. Begin your prayer of silence by focusing on your breath as a statement of your intent to commune with the Divine in silence. Don’t return to this focus until you note that you are absorbed by a distraction. When that occurs, take one breath to re-center your focus.
I typically place my hands palms down on my lap. Some people prefer to place their palms up as a symbol of receptivity. Some keep their hands folded symbolizing their intent to commune with God. The best way is whatever is comfortable for you.
We will spend three minutes in silent prayer today. We will use an app on my phone to keep track of the time. It will chime to start the meditation and when the time has elapsed.
I recommend that you journal about your experience today either with words or with art. As we explore different methods to refocus our attention, keeping track of your experience may be helpful as you uncover which method or methods are most helpful for you.
Next week we will use a sacred word to recenter ourselves during silent prayer.
The weekend of Feb. 25, we will offer a three-day directed silent retreat either in person at the Renewal Center or at your home meeting for prayer and spiritual direction by way of Zoom. This will be a personally guided prayer experience where each retreatant meets with a spiritual director daily for reflection and spiritual discernment. The silence creates an atmosphere where one can be touched by the presence of God. Click here for further information.
See you next week. In the meantime, I hope you avail yourself of the healing power of silent prayer. God bless!
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[Kathy Keary, spiritual director, holds a bachelor’s degree in education, a master’s degree in theological studies, and completed Sophia Center’s Souljourners Program, an intense study of spirituality and spiritual direction. Kathy believes that the Divine is present and active in all of life and encourages others to be awakened to the God in all including the Divine within. She enjoys accompanying others on their journey to wholeness discovering the person they were created to be.]
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