Silent Contemplation

In order to discern which path is authentic, [we need to] … be willing to be pervaded by God’s presence. – Listening Hearts, p. 29

silentYou don’t need anything special for this meditation.

Take a moment to become settled and quiet. Draw slow, deep breaths and gently survey your current life situation. If possible, identify a specific concern with which you are wrestling. You may be struggling in a personal relationship, considering a career change, facing a moral or ethical dilemma, or feeling a need to re-order priorities.

Offer yourself, including your concern or question, to God. Try to hold everything lightly, as in open hands: your material possessions, your loved ones, your friends and enemies, your thoughts and feelings, even your deepest convictions.

Read the following Scriptural passage, or if you prefer, select another passage that you’d like to meditate with today.

When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who know my way.Psalm 142:3

Open your heart and mind fully to God. With an awareness of your discernment issue hovering about you, say your Scripture text over and over. Close your eyes if you like. Eventually (but not necessarily) you may zero in on a single phrase or even one word.

When you feel ready, allow yourself to become very still.

Do not think anything. Do not feel anything. Let your words from Scripture envelop you like a mist. Establish yourself in God’s presence. When thoughts or feelings intrude, gently return to the “nothingness.”

It is not unusual for someone’s mind to wander or to become distracted. Be forgiving of yourself and gently bring your mind back to the contemplation. Centering prayer practice suggests choosing a word or phrase to help you refocus (you might use a word or phrase from your Scriptural passage).

If a strong inspiration or an experience of clarity seizes you, neither push it away nor hold onto it; let it come, but also let it go. Return to stillness.

Do not expect anything perceptible to happen during contemplation. Conceivably, at some later time you may inadvertently discover with delight what God was doing so quietly.

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