Tag Archives: simple

Solitude, Silence, and Paul Tournier

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, March 28, 2017

still-waters-sunrise

Solitude, Silence, and Paul Tournier

Have I mentioned before about how fascinating this collection of writings was? This excerpt, especially so. Dr. Paul Tournier was a doctor, psychoanalyst, and intensely spiritual man, who lived and worked in Geneva, Switzerland. He was interviewed in 1984, and his remarks were truly exceptional, simple, and profound.

I sense that Dr. Tournier was an intensely private person. (Yes, I did read one of his books, years ago, but I can’t remember for the life of me which one it was.) His responses were personal. I can tell that he was making himself available for all of us younger believers in God.

For example, the interviewer asked him to define silence. His answer: “For me, above all it is a waiting. I wait for God to stimulate my thoughts sufficiently to renew me, to make me creative instead of being what St. Paul calls ‘a tinkling cymbal.’” [1]

I see Dr. Tournier (in my mind’s eye) as sitting quietly, calmly, unflappable. I am not sure whether that is correct, but that is what I sense: “Under psychoanalysis, there is a moment when the subject feels silence weighing on him terribly. He longs for the doctor to say something to him. Silence has the power to force you to dig deep inside yourself.” [2]

Regularly, every day, Dr. Tournier meditated and prayed. That is impressive, no matter who accomplishes it. Thank you, doctor, for your understanding, for your patience, and for your silence. Truly, a gift.

 

@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] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 161.

 

[2] Ibid.

Sitting At Ease.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, February 2, 2017

flower-growing-between-rocks

Sitting At Ease.

Today’s short reading from How to Sit describes ease in sitting and meditation. It is as simple and straightforward as that. Sitting so that one feels completely at ease.

It made me wonder: how often do I really feel completely at ease?

I realize I was thinking more broadly, but, how often do I feel rushed, or anxious, or upset, or fearful? I know I occasionally get a massage (which feels wonderful!), but that welcome respite is only a part of the whole. Not my whole self, my whole state of being.

Yes, what I am thinking about NOW is—broadly speaking—my general mindset, outlook and internal attitude. But—how much of that total mindset and attitude would Thich Nhat Hanh be interested in? Yes, this little book is about meditation and prayer, but calmness, contentment and ease in meditation overlap in amazing ways.

So, it is good advice for me not to “make a great effort, or struggle, or fight” as I sit. [1] I realize as I do final relaxation in yoga, it is good for me to take more of this teacher’s advice, and to relax every muscle, including the muscles in my face.

Feeling completely at ease…a good thing to strive for.

Dear God, help me to take the suggestions this book raises for my consideration, especially this one. Feeling completely at ease. Gracious God, You do not want me to feel anxious or fearful or any other negative emotion. You have promised me Your peace and contentment. Indeed, serenity. Thank You for Your loving, gracious promises. 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), 46.

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.

Peace, Feathers, and the Library

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, June 10, 2016

Peace, Feathers, and the Library

Peace is - feathers, MG library

The Peace Vigil was a wonderful experience.

I remember the Morton Grove Community Peace Vigil on June 1st with great appreciation. I am so pleased it worked out so well. The way Janine, Dilnaz and I conceived of it, we made it a simple event. We provided an opportunity for people in our community to come together, think about peace and harmony, and seek to continue the conversation of peace.

As I reflect back, I almost pinch myself. (Did it really happen? I mean, really?)

It almost seems like one of those made-for-tv movies, the warm-and-fuzzy kind. The kind where diverse folks gather together at a community event, and everything ends up happily-ever-after.

Except, this time, it really happened.

One of the personal definitions of peace that came from the Morton Grove library reminded me of just this kind of feeling—the made-for-tv kind of feeling, I mean. Did the Peace Vigil really happen?

Almost all of the personal definitions of peace I gathered had some kind of story behind them. There was some meaning, some point of view from almost every individual. Except—not from the library, and not from the Peace Vigil. I did not gather them, did not talk to each and every person from the library, nor from the Peace Vigil.

This is a bit different for me. I need to reflect on the meaning of those definitions in a different kind of way. Sort of the way I reflect on this particular image: a page with the words “Peace is … “ and a bunch of feathers glued, scattered over the page.

This could mean that peace is—ephemeral. Able to be blown away like feathers. Or, it could mean that peace is—light, airy. Not heavy! Not ponderous! Instead, something light and positive. Or, it might mean that peace is—fragile. Easily broken, and easily disrupted.

A fourth possibility? This picture could mean all of the definitions I just mentioned. All of them, at once. I especially am attracted to the last definition I thought of. Fragile, easily broken, and easily disrupted.

God willing, may I hold peace lightly, but at the same time, with hope and expectancy. Just as I would hold a page full of pretty feathers.

@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

PEACE: Tranquil State of Mind

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, April 9, 2016

IMG_0302

PEACE: Tranquil State of Mind

Today I will share some special personal definitions of PEACE. I had the opportunity to visit the Muslim Community Center in Morton Grove last Sunday afternoon.

After the presentation on clear communication, the president of the Sunday school reminded the gathered crowd that I was there to ask the simple question “What is PEACE, to you?” The responses I received? Some were quite similar to what I have been gathering for the past two months. And, some were poignant, even heart-wrenching.

Hina’s personal definition: “PEACE is tranquility.”

Short, simple, effective. When I asked her for more information,her description was simple, too: “I want peace everywhere. That’s calm, no disturbance.”

Hina, you are so right. That is my hope and prayer.

Kulsum Tariq is the principal of the Sunday school where their community does continuing education. Tarig’s defintion caused many people to think about various ways PEACE happens.

He was so kind to write down all of these: “Peace is harmony between people or groups; treaty marking the end of a war.”

True words, indeed! Thank you also for your kindness in suggesting these expressions of PEACE, Tariq.

Gracious, merciful God, we give thanks to You for communication. Help us to have open ears to hear diverse voices. Help us bring open hearts to conversations. Thank You, God.

IMG_0299

@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

Living with Soul

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, June 21, 2015

seek to be honest, open, willing

Living with Soul

Living life can be hard. Unless one is in touch with the Soul, that is. Then, life is much easier.

According to Anne Wilson Schaef, if that is the case, life can be much more simple, too. Simple, in the way of straight forward. For Wilson Schaef in Handbook for the Soul, the purpose of life is not to fix, manage and control. Instead, “we need to participate, play our parts. For me, participation is soul-nourishing.” [1]

Yes. Time after time, Wilson Schaef documents her travels to various places in and around the 12 Step principles. The first part of these things—or places—is the desire to “help us live and let live,” one after another. God willing, we can practice this principle.

After all, being honest and open is more important than just about anything.

@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] Handbook for the Soul, Richard Carlson and Benjamin Shield, editors. (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1995.), 136.

Day #11 – Post-It? Praying, Too!

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, March 2, 2015

Placed a Post-It thank you note on my neighbor's door.

Placed a Post-It thank you note on my neighbor’s door.

Day #11 – Post-It? Praying, Too!

The suggestion from 40acts came this morning, and I read it with some interest. Even some excitement. The premise was intriguing. The email today mentioned that we all appreciate encouragement. That is all of us.

I have been told that a friendly countenance, a happy smile, or a word of encouragement is so helpful. I have a friendly, cheerful expression, so this is a natural for me. (These compliments were primarily when I was working as a chaplain at a nearby hospital.) However, this observation about encouragement is widespread, from what I can see.

Today’s suggestion is as simple as writing a brief note that says “thank you.” Or, putting a sweet message in your child’s lunch box or spouse’s briefcase. Just think what a pick-me-up that could be. I know—from experience—that some kind, generous gesture like that can make a big difference to someone.

I did this myself, today. I wrote a note on a Post-It. (Another suggestion made by our friends at #40acts today.) I immediately thought of a friendly man I could write to, on the other side of our apartment building. We live in a suburb of Chicago. The friendly man handles the snow removal for our building, and I really appreciated what he does for the whole group of our neighbors. Plus, and this is like icing on the cake, he is a super nice, helpful guy!

So—I thanked him for clearing the snow from our walkways around the building. Wrote it on a Post-It and attached it to his front door. And then, I snuck away. I know I signed the note, but I didn’t want to make things awkward for my friend and neighbor.

God bless him! And his family. Whenever they are, near or far. God is good. All the time

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

(Check out #40acts; doing Lent generously at www.40acts.org.uk )

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And read #40acts sermons sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .