Morning contemplative prayer
I am, you may have noticed by now, a complete stress head, always looking to push myself and achieve a bit more. Meditation is a crucial part of my life, if I stop meditating even for a few days then my husband can tell, because my reactions to things become more negative. I am quick to lose my temper, I am a lot more judgemental, expect everything to be done NOW, and no-one is good enough at anything. Including me. You can see how this attitude can lead to depression.
Since I have become a Christian I have been worried that I am not doing prayer PROPERLY, that I am not doing the right balance, enough and my relationship with God is going to fail and it will be all my fault. I think you can see how this is completely exhausting.
I get easily worn out and this attitude really hasn’t been helping me at all. I thought that if I could find the right formula I could have a fantastic relationship with God. The same as I think that if I find the right formula of food, rest, work and exercise I would cure my EDS. Silly really. None the less I really felt that and still do on some days.
Recently I have been trying something else. I’ve started to use my morning meditation (which is a mindfulness of breathing style) as a centring down before I start contemplative prayer. I was going onto do a Daily Office straight after meditation, but I found that this is more words in my head, I am a very wordy person, I don’t need more first thing in the morning. So now I sit in the presence of God. No words, chants, or prayers or even talking, just sitting quietly with God. After the meditation period I visualise opening my heart to the Lord and then just sit there.
I sometimes imagine my friends and family and holding them up to God’s light, but I don’t say anything. I am trying to trust that God knows what they need, even more than I do. I’ve written about how I worry I have shrunk God and this is one way to get stop that and learn to trust more.
I find this the most precious part of my day. I’m luckily in that I rarely have to be anywhere at a set time, so I can let this morning time extend as it needs to. I’m up before my husband and I don’t have any children. I am very aware that I am priviledged, but also bear in mind that I have created how I live my life due to getting so sick. It’s becoming apparent to me that I need to live my life like this as otherwise I get ill.
This is going to sound arrogant, but I find this so easy. I’m not striving to reach God through the right prayers. I don’t have to worry that I’m doing it right. I know from years of meditation practice that sometimes my brain just will not settle and my monkey mind will throw all sorts of things at me that it thinks is more important. 15 years of meditation means I know how to work with this. But since I have segued onto joining with God after that meditation period even the meditation has become easier to settle into to. I suspect because I have somewhere to go afterwards – time with God. And of course it is not me that makes it easy – it is God, he wants to us to reach out to Him after all. He wants us to spend time with Him. I don’t have to do anything – God is there.
I have read a lot of Quaker books and I love their ideology a lot. It is very inclusive and a lot less divisive than the church is, however it’s about a 40 min drive to my nearest one and I want my faith to be embedded in my community. I also love the liturgy of the CofE, I like going and saying the same things each week, it appeals to my logical side which likes repetition. I also don’t think I could worship without any music at all. I adore music and for me the best way to worship. I do wish that we had periods of silence in our services though, there is a minute during the prayers section, but I would love time to sit in our little old church in silence in the presence of God, in a place which has been soaked in worship and praise.
So, my morning practice is contemplative and it is the best part of my day. So much so that I am trying to reach out to God like this at other parts in my day too, I’ll write about this more at another point.