This is my personal blog. The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of the congregations or presbytery I serve.

Monday, June 28, 2010

What I Do.

Fwiw, here is my daily (mostly) morning spiritual discipline. I share it only to indicate what one believer has managed to piece together after decades of feeble attempts at spiritual practice. It is at the same time confession at its inadequacy, and encouragement, that it is possible to do at least something....

I start with 3 "sun salutations." These are yoga stretching routines, which relate at least formally and tangentially to the "prostrations" of more traditional Christian spirituality. While doing these I say to myself, for the first one, an ancient Celtic invocation from the Carmina Gadelica:

I am bending the knee in the eye of the Father who created me, in the eye of the Son who purchased me, in the eye of the Spirit who cleansed me, in friendship and affection, by your own Anointed One, O God, bestow upon us fullness in our days. Love towards God, the affection of God, the fear of God, the wisdom of God, the grace of God, and the smile of God, and the will of God to do on the world of the three as angels and saints do in heaven; each day and night, each shade and light, each time in kindness, give us your Spirit.

For the second, I say the Shema and a traditional Orthodox invocation, with an addition:

Hear, O Israel, the Lord your God is One, and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. O heavenly Ruler, O Comforter the Spirit of Truth, who is everywhere and who fills all things, treasure of blessings and giver of life: come and abide with us, cleanse us from all impurity, and by your goodness, save our souls. God holy, God strong and holy, God holy immortal: have mercy on us. God holy, God strong and holy, God holy immortal: have mercy on us. God holy, God strong and holy, God holy immortal, grant us your peace. O most holy Trinity, have mercy on us. O Lord, blot out our sins. O Master pardon our iniquities. O holy One, visit and heal us of our infirmities for your name's sake. Does not Wisdom call, does not Understanding raise her voice? Happy is the one who listens to her, for whoever finds her finds life and obtains favor from the living God. O come let us worship the living God. O come let us worship and fall down before the Christ, our only Sovereign and our God. O come let us worship and fall down before Christ himself, our only Sovereign and our God.

The third time I begin with: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever and unto the ages of ages, amen. Then I recite Psalms 23 and 100.

After the sun salutations I regroup, adding another mat, and sit in the "diamond posture," which is basically on my heels. With my back straight I find something to focus on (since I do this on the back patio when weather permits it is usually a bade of grass) and repeat the Jesus Prayer ("O Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me") in synch with my breathing, for several minutes until I am relaxed. Then I repeat "shalom" in synch with my breathing, and simply sit, releasing thoughts as they arise (and they do arise) and resting in God's Presence.

I use an incense stick as a timer. Beginning with the salutations this whole practice lasts about 30-35 minutes. When the incense has burned down I repeat the Apostles' Creed, the Lord's Prayer and the Ten Commandments.

Lately I have added three more yoga asanas, concluding with a "tree" (balancing on tip-toes with arms raised straight up, palms together).

After putting everything away I will sit and read the Psalms according to a 30 day cycle, the Old Testament, according to a chapter-a-day cycle (roughly three years), and the Gospels, according to a chapter-a-day/three-month cycle.

Sometimes I will read a couple of pages in a spiritual book. Often then I will engage in intercessory prayer. Sometimes journaling as well. The whole practice takes less than an hour, usually.

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