The Practice of Being

Have you tried the practice of being? This may be my favorite spiritual practice ever. Find a quiet spot, sit still, and breathe. That’s all.

It sounds so easy. But I am quick to forget how to do nothing. There is always something to do. Someplace to go.

It is easy to fall out of the practice of being, especially during a hectic season, which seems to be most seasons. When space and time open before me, I’ll sit down and think of some information that I need to find. Right. Exactly. Now. Once I’m moving, it’s hard to stop. There’s always, always something that needs to be picked up. Someone always needs attention.

Because I get lost when I forget to pause, I sometimes have to remind myself to be. Just writing it down seems to be a kind of permission.

I love how Madeleine L’Engle writes in Walking on Water about the necessity of being time for spiritual health: “When I am constantly running there is no time for being. When there is no time for being there is no time for listening.”

Listening, for me, is the difference between a living, vital spirituality or relationship with God and a life that is going through the motions or checking things off of a religious “to-do list.”

Being time helps us to create space–both in our schedules and in our hearts–for something new and unexpected. Space to connect and be connected. Space to notice. Space to slow down our thoughts and open up our hearts.

L’ Engle, reminds me that it is in the time to simply be that “God quietly tells us who we are.”

These words sound like an invitation to me. If they sound like an invitation to you, maybe you’ll want to give it a try.

Alice Wallen-Wedel, With Her Gaze to the Invisible

To Practice Being

Find a spot to sit. You could be at a park, on your couch, at a coffee shop, or anywhere that works for you.

Stare out a window or off into space. Watch the color of the sky and the shape of the clouds. (Or whatever else happens to be in front of you.)

Take a few minutes to catch your breath.

Notice how you are feeling. Notice what is happening in your body.

Notice the thoughts that arise and let them float away like the clouds.

Notice the feeling of your feet on the ground. Notice the way your body is supported in your chair.

Maybe, if you feel like it, you could offer up the prayer: “Here I am.”

Or forget all of that and just be where you are. Try a few minutes or stay as long as you need.

What happens when you give yourself permission to pause? Maybe it’s absolutely nothing. And isn’t that good?

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