Hi there my friends, I thought that I would start the first Monday’s post by outlining where I would like us to go in this new season for us all. Some of you may only touch base with me on a Monday which is perfectly fine. It will be our Monday community. I will design these Monday meditations to be: 1: a learning experience 2: a practical experience. I am also very mindful that many of you will be reading these at work so they will be designed in order for you to take the time that you need at your desk. Allow min 5 or max 10 min out of you day for this even if it’s just once a week to start with (include reading the post in this time). Like any exercise:
- You have to start somewhere
- Start small
- You need encouragement: let’s do this together.
- You need community: as we comment on the posts and give feedback we can encourage each other. No comment is too small or too silly. Lets be positive in the comments.
- You can do this at any time of the day or night
All of us are in a different phase and stage of life. I have friends who are walking through cancer, divorce, ill-health, some are first time parents, jobless and some are in careers that are crazy and booming. Wherever we are , we all need self-care and time to nurture our inner worlds. We will be looking at two distinct topics and putting them into practise. 1: Meditation 2: Prayer Next week I will post specifically on Meditation; what is it and why we should do it. The week after that will be a post on Prayer: how to get yourself out-of-the-way so that you can listen to your inner soul and to the Spirit of God. Following that will be posts with specific exercises for you to do around these two spiritual practices. Heads Up:
- Meditation is an ancient practise that has many documented health benefits. The main premise being that you take time to de-clutter your inner world and to make room for silence, space, peace and inner health. A well-known stress reliever.
- Prayer is the “act and presence of sending light out from the bountifulness of your love to other people to heal, free and bless them” (O’Donohue). Prayer is also friendship with God. Like any friendship, we speak and then we listen. Good friendship is more about listening and less about speaking. I find that most people treat God like Santa with endless ‘to do’ lists. Others just chat and speak and talk and talk. My hope, over the next months, is that you will begin to hear God speaking to you. He loves to talk, we just don’t often take the time to listen.
Make space in your day: Decide when you are going to read and practice Monday’s Meditations. If you are at work you may want to put on a pair of headphones when you take a break. At one time I shared an office space with four other creatives. I bought a large pair of Hot Pink headphones, when I put those on everyone knew that Lisa was in the “Don’t talk to me space”. Make sure you schedule a time in the day when you are able to have a break and would most likely not be interrupted. At home shut the door and turn your phone off. You may want to put some soft music on. If you only learn one thing this year it is that God is not ‘out there’, he is ‘right in here’. In our western dualistic thinking we have separated spirituality from our souls. Richard Rohr explains it much better than I ever could:
“I believe that God gives us our soul, our deepest identity, our True Self, our unique blueprint, at our ‘immaculate conception’. Our unique little bit of heaven is installed by the Manufacturer within the product, at the beginning! We are given a span of years to discover it, to choose it, and to live our own destiny to the full. If we do not, our True Self will never be offered again, in our own unique form….We do not make or create our souls, we grow into them….much of the job of spirituality is learning how to stay out-of-the-way of this rather natural growing and awakening”. Pg x Falling Upward by R. Rohr.
Whilst society preaches that life is all about addition. ie: what we obtain, what we get, what we can add to our lives. Spirituality is all about subtraction. The process of getting us out-of-the-way. Peeling back the layers, the hurts, the misconceptions and getting to know our ‘True Inner Selves’. We need to apply ourselves to do this. That is why spirituality is often linked with silence and solitude. Exercise: Breathing In the Hebrew culture the first word for God was YHVH, we know it today as YHWH or YAWHEY. Loosely it means “to be” or ‘to cause to exist’ or ‘to give life’ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetragrammaton). The spirit of YHVH is YHVH Himself, meaning ‘breath’ of the spirit. Religiously observant Jews are not allowed to say the name of God. When you sound out YHWH out loud it sounds like you are expelling a breath. I love that. Try it….. The word “Ruah” means, breath, mind, or wind or some invisible moving force (“spirit”). One of the most ancient practises of meditation is to learn to control your breathing.
Breaths come in pairs. Breathing in and breathing out. When you are born you take your first breath. When you die you expel your last breath. Your breath is the life force within you. The breath of God is the life force of creation. So for a few min now; sit in a comfortable position, shut out the world, close your eyes and listen and focus on your breathing. Breathe in and then breathe out – several times. Slowly. Listen to your breath. Let oxygen fill your diaphragm, energise your blood stream. Take time to expel it slowly………….. After a couple of min of getting in the rhythm of this. Add thoughts to your breath. Expel all negative thoughts or words that you have spoken in the last 24 hours. Breathe IN hope, promise, life, peace. Breathe OUT – hmmm…….. I let go of that negative thought, I let go of any unforgiveness. I Breathe IN – forgiveness, I breath in good health, I breath in good thoughts about myself. I breathe OUT anger, frustration…….disappointment. I breathe IN love, light, peace. This is a powerful exercise. It will regulate your heart rate and blood pressure. It will bring calmness and peace wherever you are. Neurologically it actually helps to rewire your brain into good ways of thinking. Practice all the time whenever you are able. Like anything, the more you practice the deeper the benefit and the quicker the calming effect.
Fantastic if you suffer from anxiety.
Breath OUT all fear and anxiety.
Breathe IN love, safety, peace.
Focus on your breath, feel it move over your lips, listen to the sound of your breath. REPEAT.
If you suffer from anxiety you may just need to do just this bit for several minutes. If you practice this regularly then when you begin to have an anxiety attack you will be prepared to take control of you breathing and moderate the effects.
Let me know how you go. I’m busting to hear how you feel after doing this and if you continue to practise it through the week.
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”
Numbers 6:24-26 Bible
Bless you. May you find peace and rest this week. Love Lisa.
Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdomby John O’Donohue I am absolutely besotted with this book. In Anam Cara, Gaelic for “soul friend,” the ancient teachings, stories, and blessings of Celtic wisdom provide such profound insights on the universal themes of friendship, solitude, love, and death as:
- Light is generous
- The human heart is never completely born
- Love as ancient recognition
Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Lifeby Richard Rohr
- A must for every book shelf
- Explains why the second half of life can and should be full of spiritual richness
- Offers a new view of how spiritual growth happens?loss is gain