[Thomas McConkie, Mindfulness Teacher] Traditional contemplation in the Christian tradition and Buddhist meditation are similar in surprising ways, I think. I want to guide just a traditional contemplative prayer in the style of Thomas Keating. I'm not gonna say a whole lot here, but I want you to just notice the action of releasing. Every time awareness grabs hold of something, grabs hold of anything, you're gonna just practice letting go back to openness, back to nothingness, back to God. It helps to have a sacred word for the contemplative prayer. I recommend a short word or phrase, a single syllable is helpful. I like the word peace. Some people use love. I've heard the sacred word, Lord come, et cetera, et cetera. Let it be brief. I'll guide a little bit as we get into the contemplative prayer, but the spirit of it is that we hold an intention to allow the presence and action of God to be present throughout our whole being in and through us. Anytime attention grabs hold of this or that, we use the sacred word to remind us of our intention, of a conscious intention to be open to, receptive to, to consent to the presence and action of God. Come to stillness. Let your eyes close. Relax the face, relax the body. And call up a conscious intention to consent the presence and action of God, whatever the God of your understanding, each and every time you experience a thought, you experience a sensation, a sound, anything that causes the open field of awareness to contract into awareness of a particular experience or object, you bring up the sacred word, the word whose meaning is not important but whose function is to remind you of your intention to consent the presence and action of God. When awareness contracts on an object, a thought, a sound, a sensation, which it will inevitably, no need to fret whatsoever. A distraction, in this practice, is just another opportunity to return to God. Gently hold the intention to consent the presence and action of God. The mind naturally forms thoughts, forms images, interpreting experience moment to moment. If you become aware of a thought, an image, sound, bring up the sacred word, consenting again to this divine presence, which is too subtle for any human faculty to perceive. Divine presence in this practice is a ray of darkness to the soul. This divine presence is closer to us than our own breath, closer to us than consciousness itself. Gently hold an intention to consent to this presence, which is too subtle for any human faculty to perceive. When you get pulled away, pulled into an experience, bring up the sacred word, reminding you of your intention. Continue in this way as long as you would like.
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