Tag Archives: meditate

Gratitude Sunday

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This past week I am grateful for so many things.

1.  The soft air and breeze of early Spring, even though it’s late April in the South!

2.  My succulent bed in an antique pot.  The spreading happy plants and the funky little miniature mushroom cabin make me smile every morning.

3.  My cats – so different in temperament, one sunny and chirpy for the day, the other comforting and warm for the night.

4.  My job, which was tough but rewarding this week.  In addition to good legal advice, I connected person to person with everyone and helped their hurt souls, too, I think.

5.  Safety for my husband, who returned from his motorcycle trip this morning after being on the road for almost a month.

6.  My meditation time and God’s guidance once I am calmed enough to listen.

What are you grateful for this Gratitude Sunday?Glenfinnan, Scotland?

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Meditate on this. And learn. How beautiful!

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The most beautiful quote – how could any woman have rejected a man with this heart?

“What am I in the eyes of most people — a nonentity, an eccentric, or an unpleasant person — somebody who has no position in society and will never have; in short, the lowest of the low. All right, then — even if that were absolutely true, then I should one day like to show by my work what such an eccentric, such a nobody, has in his heart. That is my ambition, based less on resentment than on love in spite of everything, based more on a feeling of serenity than on passion. Though I am often in the depths of misery, there is still calmness, pure harmony and music inside me. I see paintings or drawings in the poorest cottages, in the dirtiest corners. And my mind is driven towards these things with an irresistible momentum.”
― Vincent van Gogh

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“We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness.”

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One of my favorite things about meditation, mindfulness, prayer, whatever you choose to call it, is the wonderful unity I feel once I’m at peace and all the thoughts emptied from my head.  I can feel that I’m part of something bigger, a wave of souls all feeling and trying to do good, now and forever.  The ego goes, the pride goes, finally the thought goes and then I can hear what I need to hear – the still, small voice speaks.  Not every time, but enough to give me hope.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from my favorite Buddhist, Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Zen monk, author and peace activist.

“We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness.”

“Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.”

“For things to reveal themselves to us, we need to be ready to abandon our views about them.”

“When you say something really unkind, when you do something in retaliation your anger increases. You make the other person suffer, and he will try hard to say or to do something back to get relief from his suffering. That is how conflict escalates.”

 

 

Another favorite who inspires by his quotes AND his life – Diedrich Bonhoeffer.  I lived an hour and a half from where he was murdered at the end of World War II.

“Judging others makes us blind, whereas love is illuminating. By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.”

“In a word, live together in the forgiveness of your sins, for without it no human fellowship, least of all a marriage, can survive. Don’t insist on your rights, don’t blame each other, don’t judge or condemn each other, don’t find fault with each other, but accept each other as you are, and forgive each other every day from the bottom of your hearts…”

This is one I think of often before I visit friends who’ve lost someone.  “Where God tears great gaps we should not try to fill them with human words.”

Quotes are little inescapable truths that we recognize when someone else says them, don’t you think?

 

Another Meditation Time

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I read copiously and find little secrets everywhere.  Especially the mysticism of the Catholic Church.  Although a Southern Baptist, I have always been drawn to the beauty and ritual of Catholicism.  See Thomas Merton below – I think we share many of the same feelings.

I ran across this one today at  thinkJesuit.org.  It’s called Rummaging for God – Praying Backwards.  I’m going to add this meditation to the end of my day, along with my one in the morning before work, to see what else I can learn and apply to my spiritual life.  (This is just the meditation part.  Read the whole article for a beautiful explanation of the purpose of this meditation and why Father Hamm’s called it Rummaging.)

A Method: Five Steps

Pray for light. Since we are not simply daydreaming or reminiscing but rather looking for some sense of how the Spirit of God is leading us, it only makes sense to pray for some illumination. The goal is not simply memory but graced understanding. That’s a gift from God devoutly to be begged. “Lord, help me understand this blooming, buzzing confusion.”

Review the day in thanksgiving. Note how different this is from looking immediately for your sins. Nobody likes to poke around in the memory bank to uncover smallness, weakness, lack of generosity. But everybody likes to fondle beautiful gifts, and that is precisely what the past 24 hours contain — gifts of existence, work-relationships, food, challenges. Gratitude is the foundation of our whole relationship with God. So use whatever cues help you to walk through the day from the moment of awakening — even the dreams you recall upon awakening. Walk through the past 24 hours, from hour to hour, from place to place, task to task, person to person, thanking the Lord for every gift you encounter.

Review the feelings that surface in the replay of the day. Our feelings, positive and negative, the painful and the pleasing, are clear signals of where the action was during the day. Simply pay attention to any and all of those feelings as they surface, the whole range: delight, boredom, fear, anticipation, resentment, anger, peace, contentment, impatience, desire, hope, regret, shame, uncertainty, compassion, disgust, gratitude, pride, rage, doubt, confidence, admiration, shyness — whatever was there. Some of us may be hesitant to focus on feelings in this over-psychologized age, but I believe that these feelings are the liveliest index to what is happening in our lives. This leads us to the fourth moment:

Choose one of those feelings (positive or negative) and pray from it. That is, choose the remembered feeling that most caught your attention. The feeling is a sign that something important was going on. Now simply express spontaneously the prayer that surfaces as you attend to the source of the feeling — praise, petition, contrition, cry for help or healing, whatever.

Look toward tomorrow. Using your appointment calendar if that helps, face your immediate future. What feelings surface as you look at the tasks, meetings and appointments that face you? Fear? Delighted anticipation? Self-doubt? Temptation to procrastination? Zestful planning? Regret? Weakness? Whatever it is, turn it into prayer — for help, for healing, whatever comes spontaneously. To round off the examen, say the Lord’s Prayer.

A mnemonic for recalling the five points:
LTJF (light, thanks, feelings, focus, future).
Do it.

Take a few minutes each day to pray through the past 24 hours, and toward the next 24 hours, with that five-point format.

Thomas Merton

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The Intimate MertonI have always loved the writings and struggles of Thomas Merton.  Today Kindle has the book The Intimate Merton on sale for $3.99.  I had to have it!  Looks like a long weekend of reading for me.  The book is 400 pages culled from 27 years of personal diaries.  Of course, those pages close to his fifitieth year really speak to me.  You do feel like you should have figured it out at this age, but I guess there is always room to change and grow.  Here’s hoping it’s in a GOOD direction.

Today, I meditate in Florence – umm, in my head.

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I came back to the U.S. three years ago after a total of 16 years abroad.  One of the things I miss most – the quiet, yet sonorous cathedrals and chapels.  I would duck into every one I came across while walking through Vienna, Berlin, Munich and Prague.  Why don’t the churches in the U.S. ever feel holy without people inside?  The buildings sometimes are beautiful, but they don’t stir my soul.  Standing in the center of this Baptistry and looking at the ceiling would calm me and the meditation/mindfulness would be off the charts!  Note to self – next meditation, picture myself in this room with candles.  Om.

Florence Baptistry