Monday, July 20, 2009
"God is the Centre of my Soul"
“Meditation is a very simple concept. There is nothing complicated about it, nothing esoteric. . . . In essence, meditation is simply being still at the centre of your being. Being still. The only problem connected with it is that we live in a world of almost frenetic movement, and so stillness and rootedness seem quite foreign to most of us. But in nature all growth is from the centre outwards. The centre is where we begin and again that is what meditation is about. It is making contact with the original centre of your own being. It is a return to the ground of your being, to your origin, to God. . . .St John of the Cross, in his reflections on the nature of meditation, wrote that ‘God is the centre of my soul.’
“Meditation is a wonderful opportunity for all of us. . .because in returning to our origin, to the ground of our being, we return to our innocence. The call to meditation, for the early Fathers of the Church, was a call to purity of heart and that is what innocence is---purity of heart. A vision unclouded by egoisim or by desire or by images, a heart simply moved by love. Meditation leads us to pure clarity--clarity of vision, clarity of understanding and clarity of love--a clarity that comes from simplicity. And to being to meditate requires nothing more than the simple determination to begin and then to continue. . . .
“[Meditation] is the way of attention. [W]e must go beyond thought, beyond desire and beyond imagination and in that beyond we begin to know what we are here and now in God, "in whom we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28). The way of simplicity is the way of the one word, the recitation of the one word. It is the recitation, and the faithfulness to that recitation every morning and every evening, that leads us beyond all the din of words, beyond all the labyrinth of ideas, to oneness. . . .[M]editation is a way into full communion, oneness of being. In meditation, and in the life enriched by meditation, we just are fully ourselves, whoever we are.
“Meditate for Thirty Minutes.... Remember: Sit down. Sit still and upright. Close your eyes lightly. Sit relaxed but alert. Silently, interiorly, begin to say a single word. We recommend the prayer-phrase "Maranatha." Recite it as four syllables of equal length. Listen to it as you say it, gently, but continuously. Do not think or imagine anything—spiritual or otherwise. Thoughts and images will likely come, but let them pass. Just keep returning your attention—with humility and simplicity—to saying your word in faith, from the beginning to the end of your meditation.”
-- John Main OSB, THE WAY OF UNKNOWING (New York: Crossroad, 1990), pp. 18-20.
William Wordsworth, “Lines Composed above Tintern Abbey,” Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol 2 (New York: Norton, 1979), p. 156.
That blessed mood,
In which the burden of the mystery,
In which the heavy and the weary weight
Of all this unintelligible world,
Is lightened--that serene and blessed mood,
In which the affections gently lead us on,-
Until, the breath of this corporeal frame
And even the motion of our human blood
Almost suspended, we are laid asleep
In body, and become a living soul;
While with an eye made quiet by the power
Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,
We see into the life of things.