a way to practice “letting go” in your daily life

In her book, “small bites – mindfulness for everyday use”, Annabelle Zinser teaches us how we are going to let go:

“You can ask yourself, ‘can I truly open myself up to all the changes in this new situation?’  This can help you develop acceptance, equanimity, and curiosity.  Once in an obituary I read a quote from the Sufi master Hazrat.  It has accompanied me ever since: ‘When the roof over your head collapses, you can finally see the sky.’  This quote continues to help me let go and develop an unconditional acceptance toward what is and what will be.  Practicing with the small things helped me to see that I am increasing my ability to rediscover the sky during the difficult times as well. ”

Annabelle suggests that:

“Breathing and walking meditation are also wonderful opportunities to practice letting go.  You need to let go of your in-breath in order to fully experience your out-breath.  And you need to let go of your out-breath in order to fully experience the next in-breath.  you need to complete the step with the left leg in order to to step with the right leg.”

Before my breathing and walking meditation, I think about the things I need to let go just for that moment.  Then I start my breathing and walking meditation.  At the beginning, I experience the breath in & out, and the steps with the left leg and the right leg.  Then, I “let all worries, problems, and plans drift by like clouds in a windy sky” when I breath in.  I “gently give myself a hug and I am willing to let go” when I breath out.  I start to see the sky as the clouds have been being drifted.

 

choosing the way to wake up every morning

In her book, “Small Bites: Mindfulness for Everyday Use”, Annabelle Zinser wrote,

“How did you wake up this morning?  And how did you handle those moments of awakening?  Did you say, ‘How wonderful, it’s the beginning of a new day; I wonder what the day has in store for me.  Can I embrace myself and all other beings who cross my path today with understanding, friendliness, and compassion’?  Or did you say, ‘Oh no, yet another new day.  When I start thinking about the upcoming day, it feels like way too much’?”

In addition to giving thanks to God for the morning, waking up and embracing each morning (and day) with wonder & compassion is the way of awakening.

Listening with the ear of our heart

I took my car to the auto shop for regular maintenance.    While I was waiting for the service, I opened the book “a life of being, having, and doing enough” by Wayne Muller.  His writing on “listening with the ear of our heart” touched my heart instantly:

“When our attention is bombarded daily, overwhelmed and saturated with the relentless clanging of so much speaking, announcing, sharing, selling, convincing, offering, presenting, discussing, declaring, and demanding – how can ever find sufficient quiet to listen deeply to anything?  When can we fully attend those still, small voices of inner wisdom that reveal to us what is good, necessary, or nourishing?…..prayers of invocation …asking God to “come here, be with us and bless us”…Who are we…to assume God is not here and everywhere already – and worse, that we must call him as we would a family pet, to come?  The more humble, honorable – and accurate – prayer would recognize it is not God who is missing; rather, it is we who need to show up, to open our closed and fearful hearts, to listen with an ear bent toward the divine”.

When I followed the prayer he offered, I prayed with tear.  For a while, I have not been being mindful of God’s presence and I have not been being attentive to God’s voice.  If you are willing, join me to do and experience the following prayer:

“God, I beg you to cleanse our distracted hearts, that we may center ourselves in you, feel you here, guiding us, so we may listen and attend to your wisdom and guidance for us”.

Joan Chittister’s “The Liturgical Year: the spiraling adventure of the spiritual life”.

I love to read Sister Joan’s books. This book is one of books in The Ancient Practices Series (I love them all) by Thomas Nelson. This is one of the books helped me to discover and enjoy the rich and the meaning of The Liturgical Year when I came to Anglican from another Christian tradition 8 years ago.

In the beginning of the book, Sister Joan wrote, “every year is a distinct growth point in life… Each year brings something unique to us and calls for something different from us…The way we define our years determine what we think our lives are meant to be about and how we will live because of it…”

Then she wrote and explained “The liturgical year is the year that sets out to attune the life Christian to the life of Jesus, the Christ. It proposes, year after year, to immerse us over and over again into the sense and substance of the Christian life until eventually, we become what we say we are – followers of Jesus all the way to the heart of God. The liturgical year is an adventure in human growth, an exercise in spiritual ripening.”

Her writing has inspired me the most is this, “Like the rings on a tree, the cycles of Christian feasts are meant to mark the levels of our spiritual growth from one stage to another in the process of human growth”.

I have been thinking, as a priest, have I helped my parishioners to experience and cherish the rich and the profound meaning of the liturgical year? How can I have more and mover people journey with me in the spiraling adventure of the spiritual life?