Iranaeus of Lyons declared that, “The glory of God is a human person fully alive.”Living “fully alive” takes practice and is facilitated by striving to keep our hearts and spirits open to deep relationships and connection to ourselves, our communities, and to God. Below are suggestions for exercises that contribute to an important “life practice.” Consider engaging one or more of these practices through the week.
- Take 10 to 20 minutes once or twice a day to engage in contemplative, centering prayer.
- *Sit comfortably with your eyes closed, relax, and quiet yourself. Be in love and faith to God.
- Choose a sacred word that best supports your sincere intention to be in the Lord's presence and open to His divine action within you. For example “Peace” “Gentleness” “Compassion”
- Focus on your breath and let that word be gently present as your symbol of your sincere intention to be in the God's presence and open to God’s action within you.
- Whenever you become aware of anything (thoughts, feelings, perceptions, images, associations, etc.), simply return to your sacred word, your anchor.
- Throughout the day, every time you feel stressed or uncentered, engage in a Breath Prayer – a single phrase that can be offered in the silence of your heart to the rhythm of your breath.
- Find a short phrase that fits easily into one inhale and exhale for example:
- “Peace is a choice ... I choose peace”
- “I am filled with love ... love flows from me”
- “Jesus Christ ... walks with me”
- Keep the same phrase throughout the day and repeat or change it the next day as your soul is moved.
- Plan for at least one daily experience of an environment that brings you a sense of peace and release. Examples: go for a run or walk along a body of water or in a park; stop into a church or other quiet space to just sit; attend a dance, music, or poetry performance; dance, play music, or write poetry yourself, participate in a yoga or meditation class.
- Centering does not need to be a solo activity. Participating regularly in worship, in a spiritual growth group, or study group or gathering one or more friends for an outing filled with joy and laughter can be powerful centering experiences.
*adapted from Fr. M. Basil Pennington