Tag Archives: breathing

Benefits of Prayer Practice

be-still-and-know-that-i-am-god-ps-46-1Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, February 19, 2017

 

Benefits of Prayer Practice

When I practice being aware of my breathing, I automatically begin to relax. I find myself breathing intentionally, and I move more slowly and deeply.

These are all good, beneficial things.

The teacher Thich Nhat Hanh lists several additional, positive things that he sees happen as a result of breathing, meditation and prayer. “Sitting and breathing mindfully brings four important elements into our lives: peace, clarity, compassion, and courage.” [1]

The teacher doesn’t touch too much on either peace or clarity in this reading, but he does mention compassion and courage. I had actually connected compassion with prayer, and loving, outward acts as outgrowths or expressions of concerted meditation and prayer. However, I had not thought about the way courage is also highlighted through prayer and meditation.

Thich Nhat Hanh equates mercy and compassion towards others with a compassion toward myself. He claims (with some validity) that a healthy sense of compassion and care for others translates into the capacity to think, speak and act in a similarly compassionate way toward myself. (And, this capacity does indeed cut through a great deal of red tape.)

The teacher has highlighted a fascinating cause-and-effect relationship. Something for all of us to be concerned about and aware of. Dear God, thank You for helping me to be aware, too.

@chaplaineliza

 

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] How to Sit, Thich Nhat Hanh. (Berkeley, California: Parallax Press, 2014), 66.

Pray. Meditate. Nourish Yourself.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, January 29, 2017

sitting-sunrise-mindful

Pray. Meditate. Nourish Yourself.

I have had a stressful several days. I am sick. I have a garden-variety cold, but it is particularly awful. (I feel particularly awful, too.)

I needed to take my daughter for an interview several hours away. We left on Friday morning, and came back yesterday evening. I felt like death warmed over yesterday morning, truly. However, I managed to get my daughter there and back again, and to all of the activities she needed to attend.

I really needed this reading from Thich Nhat Hanh’s book How to Sit tonight. He described practicing mindful sitting anywhere, even on a place like a train or a bus traveling to work in the morning. “You can create a meditation hall of your bus or your train. Use your time, wherever you are, to nourish and heal yourself.” [1]

What a concept! Nourishing and healing myself certainly sounds appealing, especially right now. (Especially with an awful cold.) When I slow down and concentrate on my breathing, and on allowing my muscles to relax, it is so beneficial to me and lowering my stress levels. When I am able to coax my tight shoulders and neck to relax and unwind, I feel so much better, in all kinds of ways.

Dear God, thanks for this excellent advice. Help me to not only read it, but to follow these excellent suggestions. It will be so good for me to practice these simple things. Thank You for such amazing suggestions that allow us to nourish and heal ourselves, from the inside out.

@chaplaineliza

 

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] How to Sit, Thich Nhat Hanh. (Berkeley, California: Parallax Press, 2014), 41.

Slow Down—Find Our Center

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, November 3, 2015

prayer - hands

Slow Down—Find Our Center

What does my heart have to say today?[1]

This little daily meditation book hit the nail on the head for me, today! Yes, I need to examine my words. Yes, I need to slow down and take the time necessary to even think about examining my words! And, yes, “we can also hear our spirit in the tone of our words.” [2]

What am I hearing as I examine the words I say to others? How are others receiving my words? Are my words gentle, peaceful, cautious, or hurtful? Do I offer them with love? Or, with anger? Do I say them quietly and slowly, or all-in-a-hurry?

When I intentionally slow down, I find myself listening better. Listening more closely. When I intentionally slow down, I view life with more clarity. And, I view life around me with less in the way. When I intentionally slow down, my breathing becomes deeper, more regular. My breathing helps me to relax and let go of tension within.

And—we arrive at meditation. Isn’t meditation part of Step Eleven? (Yes, I think it is. In fact, I know it is.) Meditation is a fancy word for listening. Not only listening with my body, but listening with my heart, mind, and soul. Listening for what my Higher Power—God as I understand God—has for me, today.

Today’s reading suggests to me that I slow down today. That sounds to me to be excellent advice for any day. Slow down. Then, all of the possibilities I just listed above become opportunities for me and my life. Today.

I can speed up again later. Maybe, tomorrow. Just for today, I’ll slow down. Breathe.

Meditate. Breathe. Listen to God.

Thank You, God.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] Keep It Simple: Daily Meditations for Twelve-Step Beginnings and Renewal. (Hazelden Meditation Series) (San Francisco: Harper & Row Publishers, 1989), November 3 reading.

[2] Ibid.