WE live such hectic lives that at times it seems almost impossible to make time for prayer. While it may be impractical to set aside twenty minutes twice a day due to job and family
obligations, we can sit fruitfully for shorter periods of time. My wonderful meditation teacher Barbara W. teaches a class where one of the exercises is a three-minute reflection where one calms the mind, relaxes the body and accepts the present moment as it is. For Christians, the Holy Spirit communicates with our conscience through the Bible and our daily experiences.(see works of Fr.Keating). For example, if I am really concerned about something, I pray continuously. Oftentimes, I will receive a phone call, an e-mail or read something supportive that addresses my worry. Naturally, this does not occur magically but I find
that God does respond in some way. You may only feel thirty seconds of complete and utter
consolation while being in the throes of agony a few moments ago. This albeit, brief relief
signals that God is addressing the True Self in our being.
Moreover, I admit it is not easy to sit still for even twenty minutes and think of nothing. The mind is like a wild bronco! What one must do is to think of a mantra every time the “monkey mind” meanders. For example, you might say the word, Jesus before trying to maintain an “empty mind”. This act seems unproductive to the Western mind but in fact helps one feel connected to God. Afterall, we are spiritual beings not just material ones.
With time you may find yourself forgiving yourself for your faults and those of others as a result of regular contemplation. You may even be surprised to discern God’s presence in your daily life. Unquestionably, I have felt this. Once while leaving after a late class in Toronto I had a flat tire. A complete stranger saw me and without saying much proceeded to assist me! He could have easily have just walked by because it was past 10 p.m. and it was hard to see. Truly, this is only one of many occasions when I saw the True self emerge in these good-natured souls.
Today I am inspired above by the work of Thomas Keating.