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Archive for July, 2012

Be still

“Be still” is the first rule of prayer. It is more difficult than it sounds. Try sitting still for five minutes — how many times do you have an urge to scratch, or cross and uncross your legs? What is going on inside your head? Are you mentally writing the minutes of your last conversation? Are you wondering what to cook for supper? Some people find inner stillness is easier when they are walking, because rhythmic motion appears to soothe the mind.

— Marcus Braybrooke, Learn to Pray, p. 22

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Stilling your body

I weave a silence on my lips.

I weave a silence into my mind.

I weave a silence within my heart.

I close my ears to distractions.

I close my eyes to attractions.

I close my heart to temptations.

Calm me, O Lord, as you stilled the storm.

Still me, O Lord, keep me from harm.

Let all tumult within me cease.

Enfold me, Lord, in your peace.

— David Adam, in Marcus Braybrooke, Learn to Pray, p. 78

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Try this walking meditation, derived from Sufi tradition and designed to cultivate oneness with nature. Take a walk in a favorite park or a place of natural beauty, and imagine that your surroundings are conscious and are watching you pass through them. The trees, the grass, the flowers, the breeze, the birds, the clouds — all have eyes. Gaze back at them, feeling the divine love that sustains the universe pass both ways, from the world to you and from your eyes outward. Feel nature flowing through you, you flowing through nature: this is the divine order of nature in time.

— Marcus Braybrooke, Learn to Pray, p. 72

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Through prayer we come to know that we are connected to all humanity. We discover the divine love that unites us with other people, love that naturally overflows in compassionate action to ease the pain of their suffering.

— Marcus Braybrooke, Learn to Pray, p. 146

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Go on a retreat

Do you like the idea of a couple of days spent without the telephone, without emails, without even having to make conversation? Many people who are learning to pray find that they benefit from a day or two’s retreat from the world in order to develop their inner resources in stillness and silence.

— Marcus Braybrooke, Learn to Pray, p. 76

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Prayer for all beings

May creatures all abound in well-being and peace,

may all be blessed with peace always;

all creatures weak or strong,

all creatures great and small,

creatures unseen or seen,

dwelling afar or near,

born or awaiting birth,

may all be blessed with peace.

— Sutta-Nipata (from the Buddhist Pali canon)

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Talking with God

Grant me the ability to be alone;

may it be my custom to go outside each day

among the trees and grasses,

among all growing things,

and there may I be alone,

and enter into prayer

to talk with the one

that I belong to.

— Lau Tsu (b. 604? BCE), Chinese sage

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