The principle of meditation is simple: when the mind becomes still, the miracle of awareness becomes aware of itself as radiant, peaceful Light in the constant moment of Life. This radiance is Love.
The principle of prayer is also very simple: with an open, trusting heart you wish for divine Love to be manifest in this world and God works creatively through your trust and wishes.
Meditation is about open receptivity to Love as Pure Being; Prayer is about manifesting this Love in the world. They are two parts of one life-giving rhythm.
The meditation part of the workshop is designed to lead you into the meditative experience through a series of simple and yet powerful practices.
The prayer part of the workshop teaches what has been called, “The Lost Art of Prayer. It comes from ancient Middle Eastern spiritual practices taught by the Essenes and by Jesus. It is about creative manifestation and is a full, rich experience that generates a deep trust within you.
|Silent Meditation as inner stillness and openness is usually considered to be an exclusive teaching of Eastern religion, but it is foundational to Biblical spiritual practice as well.
There are many ways to think about meditation. Essentially, meditation on words or images is an awakened state of being, often with many new insights and expanded understanding. Silent mediation is not thinking, but an experience of the one who listens to thought: the essence of you. The important thing to realize is meditation is not a theory, but a deeply personal experience.
Perhaps the best teaching about meditation is no teaching, but rather simple guidance that allows you to have your own experience. This workshop will focus on several different approaches to meditation from both Western and Eastern spiritual traditions. Once you grasp the principle and gain some experience, you will find countless ways to enter this awakened, fully alive state of meditative being.
|1. EXPERIENCING YOUR DEEPER SELF:
This is a meditative experience of your spirit, (pure consciousness), hidden in the silence of the eternal moment.
|Find a place where you will be undisturbed. Meditating in nature is a wonderful experience, but if you can't go outdoors, even your bathroom will do.|
|a. Sit comfortably.
b. Raise your shoulders and tighten the muscles as hard as you can. Then relax them. Let them drop with a sigh.
c. Take 3 slow breaths and let them out with a long sigh, relaxing your body as you do.
d. Now, as you slowly breathe, feel the air passing in and out of your nostrils. What does it feel like? The goal is to move from thinking about the feeling to feeling it as raw sensation, without mental interpretation. Breathe and simply feel the breath.
e. If you have distracting thoughts, just return to feeling the breath passing through your nostrils as soon as you realize have been distracted. If you have pain in your body, just let it be. Feel it, and then return your awareness to your breath.
f. After a while you should feel calmed and more able to stay with the feeling. Then, simply follow the feeling of air moving through your nostrils down into your lungs. Feel your lungs expand and the sense of air within them.
g. Keep with this until you feel an open spacious feeling in your lungs. Then draw this feeling deeper by imagining this open, empty feeling going deep within your heart.
h. Silence and emptiness are one in the timeless moment. Sense the silence in the open emptiness in your heart, especially in the brief pause between breathes. Stay with this for a while.
i. After you do this, then simply relax your attention “back” just the smallest amount away from your familiar feeling of “being yourself.” It may take a little practice, but you will be able to shift your attention from you being the one who is aware of the emptiness to being the emptiness who is aware of you. Once you have done this just rest and let all mental and physical sensations freely flow by as you observe them, including any feeling of self you have. Observe it all as it occurs.
j. When it is time to finish, observe as you flow into your familiar sense of “being yourself” with all your thoughts and feelings.
|You can finish by placing your hand over your heart and just holding a few moments of silence to honor the mystery of life.|
|2. Be Here, Now:
This is a very simple but effective way made popular by Eckhart Tolls in his book The Power of Now, to enter a meditative, or aware state, by gathering yourself into the timeless moment of now. Simply drop your attention to one hand. Moving past your mental concept of a hand, feel your hand as pure energy presence.
This may take some practice because we are so used to thinking about our body rather than entering into the immediate experience of our body as energy. Once you experience this shift you realize that the deeper you that is experiencing life is fully present right here in the pure presence of the Now that is eternally unfolding.
It is this pure presence of Now that has the power to burn up the pain of the past and fears of the future that keep drawing us away from the fountain of Life that is always present, whether we are or not. Now Life is unfolding. Now God is Here, in us and we in the infinite God. Now is the door to Love and freedom; now is wonder and beauty. Now. Be here, now.
|3. EXPERIENCING GOD IN YOU
Here is a simple God-centered exercise that opens you to divine Love pouring through silence. It uses awareness of body sensations and imaginative representation of some basic spiritual realities.
1. We are composed almost entirely of empty space. If you compressed the energy shells of all the atoms and molecules in our body so there was no space, only pure matter energy, we would be about the size of this dot
2. According to quantum physics, the potential energy in pure space is infinite. There is more potential energy is one cubic centimeter of pure space than is currently manifested in the entire Universe. This is not possible to mentally grasp, but it is a basic fact of our most advanced scientific discoveries.
If God fills all space with pure, divine presence than there is more God in you than matter... or you.
Take a deep breath. Do some relaxing. Stretch a little.
Now simply sense what is in your body, whether it is pain, tension, or peace. Dream for a moment that God is in you, just beyond these sensations, and that God is an infinite ocean of Love in which every molecule of your body exists. If your body and the entire world faded away, God would remain, spacious, open, infinitely peaceful, loving you. With a simple Yes, acknowledge God’s timeless presence.
Imagine all sensation fading away and rest your body for a moment in the stillness within which your sensations exist. Drink it in. Feel God’s smile, especially through any pain or discomfort. God honors your human journey. Allow the Great Love to love you completely. By simply accepting you are loved, the doors of your heart will open, even if it is just a crack, and God will pour through.
It is impossible to listen deeply without being inwardly silent, so careful listening puts us in touch with our deeper silence and peace.
Simply listen to whatever sounds are happening. Let the sound just flow by. See if you can just hear it for what it is, without interpretations. Sound is being created in your brain from nerve flow that comes from your inner ears. What is sound as a raw experience within you? It is a miracle, a gift: listen to it.
Then listen for the silence the sound is arising out of, the spaces in between the sounds. When thoughts arise, listen to them too. Where are they coming from? They arise out of silence. Can you really “hear” thought? Of coursebut not with your ears. You are hearing with pure consciousness. If you are not your thoughts, but are listening to them, who is hearing? Listen to your thoughts. Be the silently serene listener.
|5. MEDITATION ON A DIVINE SAYING
This is an example. You can use this meditation with any divine saying that speaks deeply to you.
You are precious in my sight, and I love you. Isaiah 43:4
Say this to yourself, quietly, whispering it to your own heart.
Observe your inner response without judgment. Just allow things to be. Now repeat the words, emphasizing the first word, You. Take it in. As you go through again, emphasize the second word, are. Keep it up, emphasizing the next word until you have done the complete cycle. Now say it again and take it to your heart, taste it, enjoy it as much as you are able.
Observe what is going on in you. Is there any resistance? Are you feeling any pain in your body? Welcome it all, just as it is. Say the words again, this time to everything within you, You are precious in my sight, and I love you. See what happens.
Love undoes all that is not love by loving it.
|6. BREATHING LOVE
This is a God-centered form of meditation. Don't be fooled by its simplicity. It can open you up wide and also lead you naturally into prayer.
Place your hand over your heart and put your attention there. As you draw in breath, feel the emptiness of it entering your chest. Emptiness is open receptivity. Energy moves through emptiness. As you breathe out, imagine Love shining out of your heart as a subtle pink Light. Draw in empty breath; breathe out Love with the intention to allow Love to freely flow through your being into the world. Breathe in empty, open receptivity; breathe out Love. Relax into this rhythm.
|7. NEW ICONS
An icon is an image you meditate on to open yourself to God. It does not have to be "religious", but can be any image that speaks deeply to you, that makes you stop and seems to call you. This can also be a sexual image calling you to realize the pure gift of sexual energy. Feel what you feel and go deeper with it.
It is liberating to understand that every desire has a deeper souce and purpose. Follow it deep enough and you will encounter the source of all things within you. There, everything is pure and only there, as Meister Eckart said.
Look at the image. Feel into it. Allow it to touch you. Your heart is attracted to it for a very real reason. Your deep heart wants to heal everything. Respond to it freely without judgment. Ask yourself what you are trying to realize, enjoy, or heal? Pass through it. Bring it all home to Love.