In fact at the Haden training this last weekend we were handed a picture of a tree and the title was “Contemplative Practices.” There are several branches: stillness, generative, creative, activist, relational, movement and ritual/cyclical. It would appear according to this diagram that almost any form of activity can fall into a contemplative category as long as one is wholly present to their actions. I’m sure that’s true but I still feel most of us will benefit from finding a way to silence and stillness. It’s a busy noisy world out there and “in here” and to take some time and just be, can be life changing. In fact, it has now been scientifically proven that the part of brain that deals with stress changes with meditation and we respond with less tension and anxiety.
Ron DelBrene’s book was for me like discovering a magic lamp, with a genie inside. The genie popped out and I was asked to make a wish, only one. Oh, what was so important to me that I would want to focus on it all the time? Ron suggests you find a short phrase that you use as an all-day prayer. He recommends it be around six words or so. You then repeat it throughout your entire day. You can say it at a red light, standing in line, waiting in a doctor’s office, walking to you employment, in the shower. Anywhere, anytime is the perfect time. You “rub the magic lamp” and you actually ask, “God, what prayer would best serve our relationship?” You take some of that quiet time I just mentioned and you listen. What phrase comes to mind? For now, that’s the prayer. Sure, you can change it. You can tweek it but for now, own the words that you have been gifted. Breathe in, deep breath and let them settle into your heart and your spirit. Give the prayer a few days to take root and then be prepared for when it begins to blossom. That’s when you’ll know the “genie” has heard your one wish and it is being manifested. The prayer isn’t for anyone or anything other than yourself. Selfish, you think? Remember the Prayer of Saint Francis? “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.” Until we change ourselves to be centered in the gifts of the Sprit; love, joy, peace, hope, compassion and generosity, nothing outside of us will ever change. Let God take up full time residence within, you only need ask, and then throw away that lamp because now the miracle of finding God within will bring about the miracle of revealing God without and I believe life will never again be the same.