"The present moment is a wide-open gate leading to the depths of God."
James Finley, Christian Meditation, p. 230
There are most likely as many ways to come before God and enter into His presence as there are people. Everyone is so unique, their souls and person stitched together in a unique and differing pattern. I would suggest ,though ,that we are all stitched together with the same thread, for we were all made in the likeness of God. Those of us that have claimed our inheritance have God within us and if we learn to still our minds we can learn to open up to experience the presence of God and experience a peace that surpasses all understanding.
There is an immense amount of freedom I've found in experiencing the present moment. And I've found that using the tool of mindfulness in worship and prayer and in every moment is a powerful way of experiencing God's presence. I am going to write more on this, but perhaps this is sort of an introduction to this subject on my blog. Oh, and I just want to mention, these are just my own thoughts and reflections on this subject...I'm no way an expert (as this blog's intro states!). This is just an area that fascinates me, that I've experienced personally though am still a novice in fully comprehending and practicing.
I was reflecting the other day that our consciousness is like an onion with different layers. As we peel back the layers less of the onion remains but what does become even more real are the intangible qualities-it's scent and sometimes our physiological responses to it (like involuntary tears!). The more we enter into different levels of consciousness, peeling back the more superficial layers, peeling away our attachments, the ramblings of our mind, the more we start to get to the core of things. I would suggest, God is at our core.
When we let go of ourselves, or who we think are ourselves, and still our mind so that we are an observor to our illusions, to our mind's wanderings, we start to see things more clearly and we start to open our hearts up to God's reality more and more as we become less and less cluttered and hindered by the insufficient things we sometimes cling to for security in our ever-shifting worlds. The fact is, life is impermanent and sometimes it can be downright full of despair and suffering, filled with uncertainty, etc. That is why it is much to our benefit as well as salvation that we cling to the only sure rock there is in which to steady our uneven gait through this life...and that is God. And I believe there is much benefit in centering ourselves and our mind on God and in His presence. It provides us with peace, with direction and with a sense of compassion that we most undoubtedly will extend to others.
On this topic John of the cross wrote:
A soul makes room for God by wiping away all the smudges and smears of attachment. By uniting its will perfectly to God's; for to love is to labor to divest and deprive oneself for God of all that is not God. When this is done the soul will be illumined by and transformed in God.There are many great writers who speak a lot more eloquently and with more experience than I on this subject. I will be sure to quote passages from them over time on this blog so that maybe we can learn together some of the wisdom and insight God has revealed to them. We all have much to learn from one another, but ultimately God is our infallible source of truth and all His truth is in His Word, so we will explore what His Word has to say about all of this as well.
What are your thoughts? Your experiences, if any on contemplative prayer and Christian meditation?