Welcome: An Introduction

Sharing the insights I discover as I explore and experience the mystery that is our reality. Join me in my journey and share yours.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Enter the Gates

"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?

~many blessings


  1. Some worthy reflections Jessica. I was reminded of that little book: "Practicing the Presence of God," by brother Lawrence. We are never too far from God, in any moment, that we can't see that he lives in us and we in him, in Christ Jesus. Never too far that one or a few words cannot usher us into his presence, like "I love you," or "Jesus, help me."... George.

  2. Thank you Justin and George for your comments :) Justin thanks! I know we don't always see things the same way,(which makes our conversations all the more interesting sometimes!) so I'm glad you liked this article.

    I love Brother Lawrence's book! One of my favorites!

    ~many blessings to you both

  3. Contemplative prayer was introduced to me by Brennan Manning in 1993. Then I received further teaching on the subject from Father Thomas Keating and others, including James Finley. This journey has been most rewarding for me, as it has taught me the joy of centering in Christ and enjoying his presence. Being still and knowing God is my greatest pleasure in life.



  4. Debra...I can certainly relate in when you said that being still and knowing God is your greatest pleasure. It has been the most amazing experience I've ever experienced and has drawn me inexpressibly closer to God, providing great peace, insight and comfort. It's always great hearing from others who practice it :) I will be sure to visit your blog later today! Thanks so much for commenting :)
    Many blessings in Christ,

  5. Regarding your "not being an expert"...being an expert is overrated. You are a seeker of truth, and your humility just lends credibility to what you have to share :-) Keep up the challenging thoughts!

  6. Jessica, the image with the gates...first-rate and well-done.

    Busy blogging segment for me...bye for now.;)

  7. We are all at different stages on our journey, Jessica, and, yes, our words and thoughts shared can meet the needs, desires, and answer questions for others who are reading your blog and moving along the road the Lord has prepared for them.

    Being still and knowing He is God brings me, as Debra said, such joy and peace. As I prepare for my daily devotional, I ask the Holy Spirit to help me read the scripture with discernment and guide me in choosing the verse to elaborate and reflect upon. When I prepare to write with that passage staring me in the face, I pray that He will give me the words that are right, true, and inspirational to those who read them.

    We are all different, but we are united as God's children. What a blessing!

  8. I believe whether from a spiritual or just a method of relaxation to still our minds is key to both our health and happiness. I find the time i spend every day becoming aware of my bodies sensations, my emotional feelings , my thoughts and perceptions, followed by finding total peace by just being still in both body and mind, refreshes me like nothing else. It is my way of recharging myself. Great post as always, and i hope it is something your readers try out for themselves

  9. Jessica, I have enjoyed reading from your writing and all of the comments made from others. God is as close as we will let him be to us. Being still and quite is so important I believe. Just to let God speak to us in that sweet, still, and quite voice. He is so good to me I can't express how much he means to me. He resently saved my son. Thanks, Charlotte