In my book, Doorway to the Sacred: Transform Your Life with Mantra Prayer, I talk of the essence of spiritual practice occurring to us in the silence that follows our mantra chanting. The mantra, having honed our minds to a deeper state of equanimity, can now lead us to a kind of portal, in that silence that follows, through which we may experience ourSelves at deeper levels. This same sacred silence, of course, occurs as a result of practices across faith traditions. In Christianity, the contemplative practice is called Centering Prayer. Here, much like with mantra practice, we engage what is called a sacred word but the whole of the practice is done in silence. Moreover, the intention is not so much to transcend the finite nature of the mind to merge with the infinite nature of the soul as it is to become spacious enough to experience the presence of God within. This allows for what Father Thomas Keating called the false self to emerge for transformation so that the true self may be experienced – one’s personal union with God. Two distinctly beautiful paths leading to the One Beloved.
Over the past year, I have been spending more time in Centering Prayer and I have noticed, quite unexpected, a kind of settling within me. I call it a deeper capacity to wait and it reminds me of Tagore’s saying, Everything comes to us that belongs to us if we have the capacity to receive it. As I recently shared on my Author Facebook page, this is why we practice – to cultivate the capacity to receive what already belongs to us and why our ability to wait is so integral and sacred to our journey.
Recently I wrote a poem about this…I hope, in some way, it will bless your journey. It’s called Waiting…
You have paused me.
And I wait now with only the sweet scent of some unknowing, holding me,
as I flutter aloft like one of those hummingbirds outside my window.
Suspended, now, I can only wait in wonder.
And wait I do for Your direction even as I steadily march forward.
I can feel Your hand carving away what I am ready to surrender.
I resist imagining what may be emerging.
It seems best not to know.
For in not knowing I remain more anchored in Your Grace.
Your presence now is my only path; Your fragrance my only compass.
I have no destination. You are my Home.
Paused now, I rest, gladly, at Your feet.
Content to wait for Your command, now, my only wish.
I have always known Your steadfast, Grace filled, love for me.
What I didn’t know till now,
until Your piercing gaze ever-so-tenderly blossomed my heart
and claimed all of me, suddenly, decisively, as Your own…
was just how much I could find myself