“A mother, when her baby is crying, picks her up and holds her tenderly in her arms,” says Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh. “Your suffering is your baby. Your pain and anxiety is your baby. You have to take care of her. You have to go back to yourself, to recognize the suffering in you. You have to be kind and gentle to yourself.”
Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only person who doesn’t like the idea of a “Celebration of Life” after a death or loss. I need to grieve, mourn and lament what I lost…otherwise my heart and spirit doesn’t heal.
Simply noticing your thoughts and returning to God is the thing that makes the difference. That’s what changes your brain: the act of noticing of your thoughts and turning back to God. It’s not about “succeeding” or “doing it right.” And that’s why meditation and contemplative prayer is a practice. You are literally practicing God’s presence, peace and joy…and He then naturally spills over into your daily life. He changes who you are and how you carry your burdens.
Did I tell you I joined a “Sounds of Silence” contemplative prayer group? It’s through an Anglican church; we meet in a holy little enclave just off the main sanctuary for two hours on Monday evenings. Lots of silence, reflection, and simply being still. Listening.
“There was a bat in our house!” I told my neighbor Jo as we walked our dogs through the forest. “At about 5 am, light was just dawning, and a little black bat with big wings clumsily fluttered over my head. It disappeared for a minute or two, then flew by me again. I had to duck!”