THE MANRESA DIARIES, PART 2
Tonight, Fr. Bernie shared a bit about the history of contemplative prayer and the basic how-to’s of meditation. We followed this with a 2o minute meditation. I think that this is the longest time I’ve ever spent in silent prayer. When I’ve experimented at home or at the office I usually only sit still for 5 to 10 minutes before moving onto to whatever else the day is calling for.
Fr. Bernie emphasized the mantra, or sacred word, tonight. This is a word or phrase that is chosen to help bring the person meditation back from distraction. If God is God and not an experience, as Fr. Bernie says, then we can be with God and be free from emotions, thoughts, and imagination. Just being. Beyond what we can know with our minds. I chose “Abba, Father” as my mantra and found myself struggling to get comfortable with it at first. I shifted to “Maranatha” but moved right back to “Abba, Father”.
During this time I experienced many distractions; thinking about books to read and buy, Lisa and Claire, what I would tell others about my experience, etc. After a while, I began to realize that my mantra was still running in the background of my distractions. When I noticed a distraction I turned my mind back to the words… “Abba, Father”. The volume of this phrase grew louder in my mind and started to move up into the front of my head. It was during this amplified time that I experienced a sort of lightness for a while. The time passed rather quickly and we ended with a prayer in unison that I didn’t know because I’m not Catholic.
I am looking forward to what the rest of the weekend brings. I signed up for “Christian Yoga” on Saturday and Sunday. Lisa will be proud. I miss her. Now to read a little Nouwen before bed.
Theme verse: John 7:37-38
“On the last and greatest day of the feast, Jesus stood up and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him”.