Teachers of Centering Prayer and other forms of meditation often counsel to begin our silence by listening to our breath, coming in through our nose, down into our lungs, filling them full and then flowing up and out into the air. For those with Covid-19, breathing can become a terrifying issue. The lungs are filled with clots and we cannot seem to get enough air. I have chosen a poem about breath as today’s reflection by Jan Richardson, in Circle of Grace, p. 101.
Instructions: You are invited to pause every Monday evening at 6:00 PM or Tuesday morning at 9:30 AM. Find a comfortable place to sit for 25 minutes without interruption. Set a timer to tell you when the time has passed. Turn off the phone. Read the opening reflection (below). Close your eyes. Listen to your breathing. In rhythm with your breath repeat a sacred word to help stop the business – the chattering monkeys – in your mind. Rest with God. When a thought rises in your mind, gently push it away. When the time is done reflect on your personal thanksgivings then quietly enter into your evening or new day.
Opening reflection for August 10 or 11, 2020
Where the Breath Begins
Dry and dry, and dry in each direction.
Dust dry. Desert dry. Bone dry.
And here in your own heart: dry,
the center of your chest a bare valley stretching out every way you turn.
Did you think this was where you had come to die?
It’s true that you may need to do some crumbling, yes.
That some things you have protected may want to be laid bare, yes.
That you will be asked to let go and let go, yes.
But listen. This is what a desert is for.
If you have come here desolate, if you have come here deflated,
then thank your lucky stars the desert is where you have landed –
here where it is hard to hide,
here where it is unwise to rely on your own devices,
here where you will have to look and look again and look close
to find what refreshment waits to reveal itself to you.
I tell you, though it may be hard to see it now,
This is where your greatest blessing will find you.
I tell you, this is where you will receive your life again,
I tell you, this is where the breath begins.