Oh God, unto whom all hearts lie open. Unto whom desire is eloquent and from whom no secret thing is hidden. Purify the thoughts of my heart by the outpouring of your spirit, that I may love you with a perfect love and praise you as you deserve. AmenThe Cloud of Unknowning
The discomfort you face, will lead to enlightenment. In the moment, when you feel such pain, try to remember this.
It is easy to let the ego win over and turn to anger, find solace in addiction or self-soothing that is going too far vs. taking care of the self. Ego wants to control the suffering but this is only a tease, a way of making you feel as if you are receiving justice. Ego gives you nothing but more pain, more time with the negative energy, more space in the connection with that bad occurrence, person, because you are unwilling to let go. Because you don’t want to let go of whatever you struggle with. Did you realize this? Your pain only lasts because you allow it to last. The minute you focus on letting go and letting God into your life, the pain will subside. You will grow. You will attain enlightenment.
Seven months ago, I began a devoted practice to centering prayer. It can also be called contemplative prayer. I learned about this on Insight Timer. I read the book “The Cloud of Unknowing,” who’s author is unknown. I read the book by Father Thomas Keating, “Open Mind, Open Heart,” which teaches centering prayer and explains what this is all about.
Open my heart, awaken my mind and cleanse my soulA daily prayer that I offer up before meditation
The devotion to this practice is sitting still for 20 minutes – 2x/day. You are listening for God, you are sitting with God, you are still and silent. What do you hear? Probably nothing. Maybe birds singing, a lawn mower in the distance, people talking on the street, chattering or racing thoughts going through your head. You say a word “Truth,” “Love,” “Justice,” “Intelligence,” “Help,” whatever word you choose to help bring you back into this space when your mind loses the silence. Jon Kabat-Zinn would say, when your mind wanders off a thousand times, bring it back a thousand times.
It does not matter that your mind wanders off, your body is still, you are quiet – in the sense that your body is not moving or doing anything, you are in a place of contemplation. If the thoughts come up, there is something there that God wants you to listen to and do something about.
Twenty minutes, two times a day seems so great to many. How much time do you waste on the computer? You have children but yet you still make time for this. If you are on the computer for 20 minutes or more, you have time for centering prayer. How much do you spend working out? How much time do you spend reading a book, listening to music, cleaning your house, etc… etc… If you have time for all of these things, you can make a space for centering prayer. Your life depends on it.
When you struggle with society, the chaos of the world, the Babylon which we have turned into – a hedonistic community of people who think of nothing but themselves. Fear, anger, torment, trauma, anxiety, frustration, feeling unloved/unwanted, without a consistent faith in some spiritual cleansing practice; you are nothing. You cling to a need for fantasy and self-soothing that will take your mind off of things and give you this delusion that you are happy and content. That your self-centered needs are being met. When we focus on just ourselves and are in denial that life has a timeline and that there is an end and that we have a responsibility to others, as well as ourselves, you get nothing. Maybe a few moments of pleasure but ultimately nothing but pain and emptiness inside.
Devotion to centering prayer gave me a place to go to, when I was in a dark place last year. No matter what, I continued. I made a promise to God that I would never give up, no matter what. In the aftermath, my life began to change. It wasn’t in the twenty minutes, nothing earth shattering has occurred – so far. By this I mean, I have had no conversation – as one might imagine you are seeking. I have had some experiences, but this is not something to explain out loud. I did ask once, for God to show me that He was there, by giving me a sign in meditation. My right arm suddenly became so heavy, I could not lift it. It wasn’t until I said “Thank you,” that it then began to go away. I didn’t say that though for a long time, because feeling it gave me such pleasure. In that moment, I needed to have some tangible experience and He indulged me.
If it weren’t for that dark place that another he, a more troubled soul, who is devoted to himself and his pain – if it weren’t for him pushing my buttons and twisting my heart around and then punching me in the gut (metaphorically), I might not have come to this place. Often, we go to God when we are in peril. I am grateful for the lesson I was given last year. This pain and suffering woke me up. I had been in a deep slumber for forty some years, in reality, my entire life. I had assumed that I had been awake a few other times, when I felt I had finally gotten it. Then another lesson would be put in front of me and I realized I was still asleep. Still following the same path, dissociating in life. If it weren’t for pain, how could we ever reach enlightenment? Not that you search for it, believe me, you will get it one way or another. Now, though, I have asked God to bring my lessons through intuitive wisdom.
And, this is the aftermath of centering prayer. In my awakened life, outside of those twenty minutes, I am speaking positively, openly, affirming, attracting goodness. I have prosperity, balance, love, friendship, abundance, wealth, health, and happiness. Most and more importantly than all of this, I have Intuitive Wisdom. God speaks to me through this wisdom as He is showing me things that I need to see and learn. Sometimes they are painful realizations about my past relationship and sometimes they are insights to share with my clients. Sometimes, I am just sitting still with others and not looking for things to upset me. Sometimes, I am listening to my listening of those around me and guided when to speak and when to not. I have never not felt loved or alone.
I love the Lord who listened to my voice in supplication. Who turned an ear to me on the day I called. Return my soul to your rest, the Lord has been very good to me. For my soul has been freed from death, my eyes from tears, and my feet from stumbling. I shall walk in the presence of the Lord, in the land of the living.Psalm 116
Walking with the Lord, with my God, my unknowing, my patience and unconditional love and support, is my favorite line of all.
Note: There is an app for centering prayer that you can download and set up. I chose these quotes from the Cloud of Unknowing and Psalm 116 for my featured prayers to begin and end. I created my own individual prayer, which I mentioned here, so that I had my own voice to offer up to God. I do not claim any religion. I follow a solitary spiritual path, based on my study of World Religions, that has encompassed my entire adult life. Prior to that, it began intuitively but not consciously.