A Weekly publication of The Awakening Institute for Spiritual Formation, Spiritual Direction, and Soul Care
Hi Everyone, I pray that you, at this very moment, are experiencing the presence of God in your day. Now is a good time to be still and let God speak to your heart.
As we enter into the fourth and final week of Advent I pray that we are more deeply preparing yourselves; heart, soul, mind and body to celebrate and to experience the birth of Christ on Christmas day as we simultaneously wait for Christ’s second coming.
This year our focus is on what we are calling “The Slowing.” This week, in part four, we consider what we might expect to experience as the end result or goal of this period of slowing.
Where is “The Slowing” Leading Us?
The slowing of which we have been speaking is not an end in and of its self. It is leading us someplace. This place is a transcendent place where time has not only slowed but has become still. The end goal of the slowing is stillness. This stillness is a place of non-resistance and great humility, defined as pure receptivity. This is less a location and more a state of being in which we become open, non-judgmental, non-defensive and in the moment as a way of experiencing the interconnectedness of all things within the context of Love, God with us. This is a way of contemplative being that allows us to know at an ever deepening level, Emmanuel, God with us, as the Advent season comes to an end and the Christmas season begins. Inner stillness is the place of Shalom, where all fear, violence, and suffering are chased away by perfect Love. This is a place where we allow ourselves to recognize the immensity of Love in our midst as all suffering becomes dwarfed by Love’s presence and we are empowered , even in the midst of suffering, fear and violence, to be the meek who are not distracted or effected by anything that might perpetuate violence, suffering or fear in our lives. Inner stillness is a place where all grasping and aversions dissipate as a deep awareness of God’s presence comes over us. Our hunger to hold onto and to consume, as well as any hate or repugnance toward others, that we may harbor in our hearts (often unconsciously) is replaced by a deeper hunger and thirst for more of God in our lives. The slowing, leads to inner stillness and a deeper knowing of Love who has gracefully been revealed to us.
"Be still, and know that I am God!
NRS Psalm 46:10a
This is not an intellectual knowing of doctrine or information, but a true intimate, relational and experiential knowing that flows out of the slowing which has now become stillness at the core of our being, which is the inward place where God resides. Here we only need to ponder Love in our midst.
1. Find a comfortable place, sitting upright, with your feet on the floor.
2. Read Psalm 48:9; “We ponder your steadfast love, O God, in the midst of your temple.”
3. Ask the Lord to draw you into the stillness of the divine presence. Feel yourself entering the temple of God within you. Allow yourself to feel God drawing you closer and feel “The Slowing.”
4. Take three slow deep breaths.
5. Slowly breath in through your nose, feel your chest expanding, then while you slowly exhale say “Come Lord Jesus.” Allow your breath to completely leave you, and then relax and ponder Love who is with you. Repeat this step 3-4 times.
6. Sit silently for 10 minutes just resting in God’s presence and the stillness that God’s presence brings forth within you.
(Additional to our daily Scripture reading)
Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer, by David-Steindl Rast
I Am A Follower, by Leonard Sweet
Becoming Human, By Jean Vanier
Knowing As We Are Known, by Eugene T. Yotka
Let Your Life Speak, by Parker Palmer
Desiring God’s Will, by David Benner
Walking In The Light, by Steve Harper
Thoughts in Solitude, by Thomas Merton
Incarnation: The Surprising Overlap of Heaven & Earth, by Will Willimon
The Mystic Way of Evangelism, by Elaine A. Heath
A Hidden Wholeness, by Parker Palmer
The Return of the Prodigal Son, by Henri Nouwen
Way of Love: Recovering the Heart of Christianity, by Norman Wirzba
Falling Upward, by Richard Rohr
Between the Dark and the Daylight, by Joan Chittister
New Seeds of Contemplation, by Thomas Merton
Love Henri, by Henri Nouwen