This week I am offering a meditation from Monday’s FaceBook (FB) page A Way In: Jewish Mindfulness Program. I have used these FB daily meditations, and the Rabbi Yael Levy’s Jewish Mindfulness web page, Mishkan Shalom, for my own use for some time now. I wanted to share with you the beauty of their posts and suggest you explore Rabbi Levy’s web page as a resource for mindfulness and meditation.
Let today’s meditation be your reminder to look for the Divine in all of creation.
Fulfilled is the person who knows that in each moment she dwells in the Divine presence
Fulfilled is the person who knows that in each moment the Divine presence dwells within her.
Always she offers praise.
May we have the strength and humility to look for the Divine within ourselves.
May we have the courage and faith to recognize the Divine in others.
Genesis 2:1-3 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation.
‘Resting from our labors’, this is such a lovely phrase. Even God knew when to rest and let his new creation be. He even made it a sacred moment in time. While scripture identifies the seventh day as a time of rest for most of us there is no real strict rule as to when to take a day of rest, a time of Sabbath. Nor is there a set time limit for how long our rest should be.
Today is Tuesday and most likely you are in the midst of your busy lives. But, even when we are at our busiest we need, yes need, to take a moment out of our day to center ourselves in order for us to be the people of the Divine. So I am offering you those few moments. Take a few minutes and using the Visio Divina instructions below, let yourself rest in your quiet place. Find your center and spend a moment of rest with God.
Study the picture slowly, taking a first glance noting the colors, people, places and things. Remain with the image for one to two minutes. If you would like, jot down a few words about the image.
Take a second, deeper, look. Where is there movement? What relationships do you see? Engage your imagination. Where are you in the artwork? What do you see from that perspective? What deeper meaning emerges?
Respond to the image with prayer. Did the image remind you of an experience, person or issue for which you’d like to offer thanksgiving or intercession? Offer your thoughts as prayer to God.
Find your quiet center. Breathe deeply. Relax your shoulders, arms and legs. Rest in this quiet center. Let God pray in you. God prays beyond words.
Psalm 131:1-2 God, I’m not trying to rule the roost,
I don’t want to be king of the mountain.
I haven’t meddled where I have no business
or fantasized grandiose plans.
2 I’ve kept my feet on the ground,
I’ve cultivated a quiet heart.
Like a baby content in its mother’s arms,
my soul is a baby content. (MSG)
One of the benefits of a sabbatical is having the time to stop and let the world go by. In fact I have begun to practice an extension of stopping that I call “what will be, will be.” On my trip I would wake in the morning and intentionally decided to let the day unfold as God intended for it to happen, making few plans, being open to opportunities to meet people or visit a place I hadn’t been before, taking the time to really listen to the person I just met, stopping and really seeing the world around me and the hardest of all, trying not to control my days events. What I discovered was I was more relaxed and rested at the end of the day than this normally anxious introvert is.
This is more than mindfulness or being in the moment. It is letting the Divine control the day, opening my eyes to the Good in each person I meet and greeting them with the Good within me. This is an intense letting go of my expectations of how things ‘should’ be and seeing how they are/can be beautiful and insightful.
Of course I couldn’t do this every day. Sometimes we had already made plans in advance so those intentional days weren’t every day, even on a vacation. But I did make them happen often, and probably more often than I will be able to do now that I am home. However, I do wish to maintain this spiritual practice and hope my ability to let go and let God control my days increase. Here are a few suggestions to help you, and me, get started. As I get better at this, or you, we might add suggestions or take some away, we will just have to wait and see how God unfolds this practice.
Begin the day with silent prayer ending with a prayer for patience and openness
As you start your day and continue through your tasks really notice what you are doing, see the people you are with, taste the food you eat, notice your surroundings, even the ugliest of areas has beauty if you look.
As time allows stop for a moment and breathe deeply, if possible sit and let God into your day, your heart
Let God into the moments of confusion and frustration, breathe deeply, say a prayer, let others express themselves and be aware of their hurt and pain, or joy and celebration. Recognize they too have the Divine within and welcome them. (This is the hardest part, so do not be surprised if you fail, just keep trying)
At the end of your day, sit again in silence; let your heart and mind reflect on your day, the good and the bad hold those you meet that are hurting in prayer, and offer gratitude for those who are celebrating.
End by offering your own prayer of gratitude.
We all can’t take 6 weeks or even a day of sabbatical, but we all can let the Divine into our daily lives. We can offer one of our ‘normal’ busy days to God, and changing how we see our tasks and the people we interact with helps us change how we see the world. It costs nothing to offer praise or condolences, or to sit and listen to someone’s story but the gift is priceless.