Tending the Soul: Sit Down & Shut Up

 
 

In a day crammed with meetings and deadlines I’m behind on (including writing this reflection), I glance at the clock on the way to the restroom. 12:26pm. Haven’t gotten lunch yet. My pocket buzzes. Text message update on my sister-in-law’s cancer. I should call her, and answer another email I see in the alerts.

I take my seat at 12:32pm. Two minutes late. I shoulda been on time. Hate to bust in and disrupt things. But the others haven’t started yet; whew. I start composing my email reply in my head. Thinking we should go with the afternoon flight option even if it’s a few dollars more.

Amy opens her phone app. Each of us places our feet flat on the floor. I notice I’m slouching in my chair as usual. Geez I’ve had bad posture since I was a kid; I should be better about that. I’ve started flossing though. My dentist will be happy next time.

I straighten my spine, attentive. From her phone, Amy sounds the prayer chime.

Silence.

I draw a deep breath. Deep, deep, all the way to the bottom of my lungs. I let my breath go, slowly.

Silence.

I am still.

It is good to become still. In a world of movement and motion, of progress and achievement, growth and attainment, Stillness centers all – holding all. When I was a child in the woods surrounding my home, I could be still for hours. Listening, watching. Held by the bed of earth and leaves, under the scrub oak canopy. Now in the heart of the city, I am relearning. In recent years I have in fact grown in my capacity for stillness. It is a way of prayer I am becoming. Deeper, beyond words. Slowly – so slowly! – God is healing me from my addiction and compulsion to speak, to act, even to think analytically and comparatively. But it’s hardly simple. The monkey mind! Lurching about, grasping, swinging, wanting, never still. I pray that my speech and action and analysis can flow from a place ever more deeply rooted and grounded in love. Which is to say, in God.

The monkey mind!
Lurching about, grasping,
swinging, wanting,
never still.

Maybe I could write about this in my next Tending the Soul reflection? I’d had another idea; is it too late to switch it up? Might have to ask Ben for a deadline extension. But I did that just a couple weeks ago. I wonder how many people even read those things? I could ask Ben to check the stats. Analytics sure aren’t the main thing though. Look how the election predictions turned out, and last year’s NBA finals. Kinda surprising what LeBron tweeted out the other day. Guess he’d had enough of Barkley’s act. I’ve always thought Barkley was a jerk, clear back to his playing days. Couldn’t believe he spit on that girl.

Silence.

I inhale. Release, slowly. “Beloved,” I mouth silently. Beloved. Beloved. Beloved.

Still.

Yikes I lost track of what I’m even doing. Centering Prayer! Seriously. How many minutes has it been? Two? Ten? If it’s close to twenty, we’re almost done and I don’t feel terribly centered. I wonder how it’s going for the others in the room. For all the years I’ve done this, you’d think it might go better. It’s probably going better for Jeff.

Silence.

“Beloved.” Beloved. Beloved.

Still.

I hear the hum of the freeway traffic across the way. I hear my breathing.

Beloved.

Still.

Chime.

Opening my eyes, I notice my friends’ hands. Palms up. Folded comfortably. Limp on a lap.

Amy taps at her phone. We file out. Off to our phone calls, our deadlines, our ever-moving lives.

“Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)
 

Blessings and Peace,
Scott

Scott Dewey directs Centering Way


For Soul Tending

We invite you to attend our upcoming Centering Prayer Workshop, March 25, 9am - noon in Denver.
Contemplative Outreach and Gravity Center have good online resources for making Centering Prayer a part of your life. Amy’s handy phone app is available for Android and iPhone - in your app store, search for the one by Contemplative Outreach.