Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Rest as Spiritual Practice Rest is a musical term. It is a tiny breather (break) built into the rhythmic structure of your life. It gives the beauty of your song a little space that it might expand in consciousness. Rest, is also a spiritual term. We are told to rest in our faith, rest in Spirit, or rest in the loving arms of Jesus or God. And we are told to “be still and know that I AM God.” We may discern this instruction as “focus.” We are accustomed to thinking of spirituality as hard. Yet the opposite is true. The idea that it may be simple, easy, and flowing is quite foreign to us. Rest in God means stop efforting. It means allow God to be an intimate experience. Stop thinking about God and let God / the Universe to give you some attention. Relax in your quest! Receive! Open yourself to receive the concept of God, the Universe, as a kind, open, loving heart or hearth, a nurturing warmth. Receive the recognition that your spiritual relationship if present without effort. This idea that you don’t have to be active, that being receptive, soft, and open is the only requirement may take getting used to. Animals and babies don’t work to be in relationship with God. It may take some discipline to “not work,” to allow the water level to rise (energy to return) until action again becomes the natural spilling forth of inner fullness. There is a cycle to life, a recognizable on-off rhythm. When we go with this current, we experience a sense of rhythm or rightness – perhaps centeredness. And when we force action, we experience strain and struggle. It is a form of resistance. Yet pushing or forcing action can be more comfortable as it is the familiar thing to do. Ambiguity often will breed a kind of anxiety and this discomfort in turn, catalyzes new ways and new directions. Discipline is required to endure ambiguity. This is a learned skill. Ambiguity passes when it is time to take your new direction. When you are centered (through practice) in Spirit, you sense this timing and you honor it. There are reasons that people avoid meditation. Most think of it as work. They also fear that they won’t do it perfectly. Sometimes they fear what they will discover. Their fear is that they will find out that they are not good. (That never happens.) What if you don’t have to meditate perfectly? What if you find out that you are beautiful? What if you don’t have to do it at all? What if you can rest and let go and God will do the rest? Practicing the Presence of God is just that, experiencing the Presence. You think GOD and that’s it – no other action is necessary. It is a form of remembering. Remember your best friend in grade school. Remember the prom or your first boy (girl) friend. God is like this. God is a Presence, like air. We don’t think about air – we forget about God. When we remember them, they are everywhere. It is ordinary and miraculous at the same time. Another phrase for taking a break is called having quiet time. The only action is to TAKE the time. The quiet does the rest. In the Bible there is a saying, “Come into the Kingdom as children.” It means be open, receptive, and playful. Children rest and play, they don’t work hard. Rest and play can be foreign ideas to most regarding connection and spirituality. However, if we peak at most successful spiritual lives we discover that they are grounded in those principles. Here is the experiment – it is not official! Because we live in a busy, sometimes driven world, spirituality can be conceived of as one more thing to put on the agenda. Yet, being “spiritual” is an attribute to add to the list of “personals,” rather than your TO DO list. We try so hard that it gets in the way. So this week, expand your concept of what spiritual includes….. a little more breathing space, some quiet time. Here are some suggestions to help make it easier: • Instead of listening to a meditation CD, put on a great Broadway musical. • Go to a comedy club or a funny movie instead of seeing something that is educational and politically correct. • Read a great mystery or novel instead of a self-help book. • Instead of getting up an hour earlier, sleep an hour later or go to bed an hour earlier. • Instead of adding more to your TO DO list, try taking some things off it. In other words, tackle less. Lower your standards. • Let God work on you instead of you working on God. PLEASE NOTE: THERE IS NO OFFICIAL EXERCISE! Many blessings, Jean

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