As long as there are people who are trying to realize the divine in themselves, there shall be hope in the world.
I was sitting this morning in the quiet asking God for a word, a phrase or an image to carry with me into the day. And the word “Be” rose up powerfully within me.
Be. Just let yourself sit here and be loved by God.
Be. Just listen to your breath. Don’t do anything.
Just be. Here Now. Whole. Complete in this moment.
As I sat with this word, I became unsettled, perhaps even a bit agitated. My body and mind wanted to do something. Think. Move. Wander. But my soul was asking me to just be.
Why is that so difficult I thought? Why is it tough just to be present to myself and to God in this moment? Perhaps it’s because the world teaches us to do the opposite: be productive; create something; don’t just take up space, make yourself useful.
But simply being in this moment resting within myself, resting with God, is perhaps the most productive non-action I can do each day. Allowing myself to be present to my breath, being aware of my body sitting in this chair, listening to my dog snoring as he lies on the floor next to me; just being in this moment, feeling complete and whole, not having to do anything but relax, release, and let myself feel the presence of God in me at this moment, this is perhaps the most life-giving gift I can offer myself each day.
Thomas Merton says that this quiet time, this meditation space is a vital part of becoming fully human. When we sit still and are present to our soul for ten to twenty minutes each day looking for the divine in ourselves we become God’s prayer. And from that space of prayer and meditation we then become the active presence of God in the world. This, he says, is the active-contemplative life. Allowing ourselves to simply be, so that we can become.
Game Plan: Try getting up one half hour earlier than usual for the next five days. During that extra half hour, find a quiet space in your house, a comfortable chair or couch. Then light a candle, sit in your chair or on your couch, take a deep breath, and be present to yourself, to your soul. Just be. If the mind wanders, as it often will do, ask God for a word, a phrase or an image to carry with you in your heart today like a mantra. Notice how this quiet time gradually becomes a centering place for you, a time where you reconnect with your soul, finding balance, choosing peace.