the indwelling

immaculate_heart_of_mary

Yesterday felt like a homecoming in many ways, to engage in a practice of deep prayer (vs mind meditation) that I realize I closed the door on (and so, also my heart) a few years ago when my experience of God as Lover/Beloved left me. Prayer had felt impossible for me when that sense of separateness from God dissolved and my sense of the Other was gone. In its place stood ‘only’ the profound Sacredness within all, and paradoxically myself within that profundity quite inconsequentially small. Ironically, somehow in the midst of all that was Sacred, I found It difficult to touch or be touched.

It was unexpected and perplexing to feel so utterly lost in the midst of that ocean. I felt disoriented, completely without a compass. I couldn’t even practice centering prayer, perhaps the most non-personal form of prayer that I knew, because even my one sacred Word left me, felt meaningless in that deep sea, nothing given in its place to anchor me.

And words will fail me here too, in even describing that place. Was this what the mystics described as Mystical Union, this dissolving of the boundaries of the Divine? If so, I wasn’t so certain that such a goal was desirable after those years of seeming Belovedness, intimate mystical communion and communication between the Divine Lover and myself. Perhaps it was Dark Night, then, in that journey into God, the loss of one’s way of seeing.

In truth, I felt like I’d lost my heart.

I tried talking to the wise ones that I knew about it, but no one seemed to be able to go with me there. I received quizzical looks, and others of scorn,  and actual statements of ‘I just don’t get that’. So, I mostly stopped speaking of It at all. It was unnamable anyway.

I’ve passed through these years as if some piece of my soul was missing, disconnected. Life in my head has felt distant and cold.

It is ironic, isn’t it, that these days of erecting a boundary around myself in order to create some space between me and the vast chaos outside my door (in order to create some much-needed interior space as well) has created an inviting environment into which the Sacred Heart might return to dwell within me. That Boundaryless One, suffusing and surrounding all that is, that Great Immensity,  still can become small and boundaried to step inside the doors of my heart. Isn’t it ironic that during this time of intentional disconnection this intimate reconnection should occur?

I wonder if part of that softening movement I noticed a few days ago, from one part of my brain to the other, was actually a move from my head to my heart, the re-opening of a channel long blocked. To follow my image of being lost at sea through, perhaps I have at last found the inlet amongst so many false hopes and dead-ends, that leads home to my heart.

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. A part of me fears this is a product of my imagination. Another part of me distrusts my fickle self, and perhaps even moreso the fickle nature of the Divine. But for today, again, this resonant reminder in a message from my morning email, one I have subscribed to for years but rarely open. Perhaps some internal compass indicated that I might want to do so today.

Look, she even has a pointer revealing the way.

 

 

Practice: Prayer of the Heart

 

Abba Poemen said, “Teach your mouth to say what is in your heart.” Many of the Desert Fathers and Mothers, as well as the Philokalia in the Eastern Orthodox tradition, have described prayer as bringing your thinking down into your heart. It always seemed like soft piety to me until someone taught me how to do it, and I learned the immense benefits of the prayer of the heart. As a Catholic, I was often puzzled by the continued return to heart imagery (such as Jesus pointing to his “Sacred Heart” and Mary pointing to her “Immaculate Heart.”)  I often wonder what people actually do with these images. Are they mere sentiment? Are they objects of worship or objects of transformation? You must return their gaze and invitation for a long time to get the transformative message and healing. Such images keep recurring only because they are speaking something important from the unconscious, maybe even something necessary for the soul’s emergence.

 

Love lives and thrives in the heart space. It has kept me from wanting to hurt people who have hurt me. It keeps me every day from obsessive, repetitive, or compulsive head games. It can make the difference between being happy and being miserable and negative. Could this be what we are really doing when we say we are praying for someone? Yes, we are holding them in our heart space. Do this in an almost physical sense, and you will see how calmly and quickly it works.

 

Next time a resentment, negativity, or irritation comes into your mind, and you want to play it out or attach to it, move that thought or person literally into your heart space. Dualistic commentaries are lodged in your head; but in your heart, you can surround this negative thought with silence. There it is surrounded with blood, which will often feel warm like coals. In this place, it is almost impossible to comment, judge, create story lines, or remain antagonistic. You are in a place that does not create or feed on contraries but is the natural organ of life, embodiment, and love. Now the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart have been transferred to you. They are pointing for you to join them there. The “sacred heart” is then your heart too.

 

Gateway to Silence:
  Give us wisdom. Give us love.

 

From Center for Action and Contemplation http://www.cac.org

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. erinmorlock
    Jan 21, 2017 @ 17:51:10

    I wondered if you had seen the Rohr meditation. All at the right time…

    Like

    Reply

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