Tag Archives: “How to Sit”

A Celebration of Life and Breath

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, January 16, 2017

A Celebration of Life and Breath

Breathe. That’s right, feel your breath flowing in and out of your lungs. Intentional, mindful. Now, breathe more deeply. Slowly. In and out. Be exquisitely aware of each breath in, and each breath out.

You got all that? You—I—we all are celebrating being alive as we become mindful and aware of each breath we take. What a marvelous gift from God.

As I read another short section in the slim book How to Sit, by Thich Nhat Hanh, I came across a significant insight. (Or, if you choose, it’s the most obvious statement.) He says: “If you are breathing mindfully in and out, you already have insight.” [1]

When I sit and meditate, take my time and pray, I have the opportunity to deepen and slow my breathing. I can take the time to relax my muscles, loosen the tension in my neck, shoulders and spine, and become quiet. Restful. Mindful.

Dear God, is this what You want me to do, right now? Rest in You, I mean. Rest, and praise, and be thankful. Amen.

@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), 29.

Meditate, in Mindful Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, January 8, 2017

bench-sun-mindfulness

Meditate, in Mindful Prayer

It’s cold outside. Boy, the wind is wicked! Plus, there’s the difference I feel after sitting in prayer, quietly. All kinds of wintry weather. Just perfect to continue my prayer blog.

But, I have a few questions, first. How should I start to meditate? I’ve been practicing the prayer part, for years. (With varying degrees of success.) But, how to meditate? Is it three easy steps? Or, five definitions for silent meditation? Is that how to figure it out? How should I start? Walking? Sitting? Eyes shut, or open?

As I read the book “How to Sit,” by Thich Nhat Hanh, he gives some great advice. Wonderful, and open-ended. As I understand, however I am most comfortable, that’s what he suggests. Walking? Yes. Sitting? That, too. Inside? Yes. Outside? Yes, again.

It’s more of an inside job. Meditation, that is.

Paying quiet attention to whatever crosses my path is a good start. Looking deeply from a point of quietness, I “can begin to see the true nature of what is in front of [me].” [1]

What a generous, enlarging attitude of meditation. Simple and straightforward, really.

Dear God, thanks for such a teacher. And, thanks for such good advice. Help me to follow it regularly. In earnest prayer, I appreciate You so much. God, thanks!

@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), 19.

Calm Amidst the Storm, Praying

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, January 6, 2017

 

waves-storm_drawing

Calm Amidst the Storm, Praying

As I was reading the slim book “How to Sit” this evening, I was struck by the analogy given. Of anxious people on board a boat, at sea, in the middle of a storm. And, one person’s calm demeanor became what calmed the whole boatload of passengers.

I don’t want to bend over backwards to pat myself on the back, but I have noticed that I am that person, sometimes. I have a calm, less-anxious presence, at times. (I’ve noticed this, and so have my former chaplain supervisors.) Whether in a health care setting, or a funeral home, or in a tense situation outside the church, sometimes I help to bring a bit of calmness and serenity into an anxious or awkward or scary or angry situation.

When I considered this attitude lifted up by the book earlier this evening, I did not pray all that much. Instead, I found myself reflecting on this kind of attitude. A calm, less-anxious kind of attitude. I really do thank God that I can be that person, sometimes. I know I have been trained as a chaplain, and trained to express that kind of attitude, but some of it is natural.

I am so glad I have gravitated to a line of work where I can express these kinds of attitudes and talents. I know I need to continue to keep my attitudes and actions sharp, and be certain of continuing to reach out in care and concern. God willing, those will be the kinds of things that others will help me in doing. I pray that some here will work with me, so we all can support each other. One day at a time. (God, thank You!)

@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

Praying in Contagious Peace

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, January 4, 2017

peace-and-quiet

Praying in Contagious Peace

Finding a place and space of calm and contentment? It can be challenging, even difficult. Yet, I am striving to do this during my time of prayer. A worthwhile challenge, indeed!

Thich Nhat Hanh, the Buddhist monk, serves as my guide for this month. His slim volume called “How to Sit” will be my guide book.

Today’s short reading was that peace is contagious. No matter what, if I pay attention to my breath, that is. I must insist and make this post about peace, and calm, and quiet—just as much as I try to make my prayer time a time of contagious peace.

As I sat and prayed, I sat still and calmed my breathing; that is, I tried my very best to stay quiet and center my mind on peace.

God willing, we all will strive for peace.

@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

Sitting in Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, January 2, 2017

sitting-sunrise-mindful

Sitting in Prayer

While out of town a few days ago, I visited a bookstore. I picked up several books, including a slim volume called “How to Sit” by Thich Nhat Hanh, the Buddhist monk.

I practice yoga at least once a week, usually twice, and three times a week, when I can. This is so beneficial for me! I don’t follow the whole spiritual aspect, but I very much appreciate the focus and mindfulness part of yoga.

This reminds me: I tried to practice Centering Prayer in 2015, for a whole month, with fair-to-middling results. For those who do not know or are not as familiar, Centering Prayer involves simply being quiet before God. Centering one’s physical, spiritual and emotional selves. Some people choose a word or brief phrase to assist them in centering. Alas, I did not excel. (Far from it.) However, I tried my best—most of the time.

This new slim volume convinced me that I ought to try to sit and center again. So, I did. And, I will try again, for the next month.

Similar to when I practice yoga, my breath slowed. My mind cleared. I expressed a welcome to God, but not really in so many words. (Just a welcoming feeling.) I did not pray in words, as I do so often. (I am so dependent on words.) Yet, my prayer time was restful and quiet.

Just what I needed. Thank You, God.

@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