Exercises #4A, 4B, and 4C: A Time of Silence, A Time for Words

Background:  There are many ways that words can become a gateway to silence.  At it’s most fundamental, it is really only the possibility of speaking that gives the possibility of choosing silence any kind of meaning.  If we could not speak, then silence would be our default condition.

Additionally, there are some times that we want a moment to reflect on the words we are attempting to internalize.  In the first exercise (4A) below, you will find that the space is created with the in-breath.    If there is a sentence or phrase that seems more relevant to you, by all means, explore this one.

Exerercise 4A

1.  Find an upright, comfortable position.  Place your feet flat on the floor,  As best you can, release your worries for the duration of this practice.

2.  Find your breath.  You may wish to consciously slow it.  Perhaps, today, you will simply observe it where it is.

3.  With your next inhalation, experience the breath as cleansing.  It is creating an open space within.

4.  With the next exhale, say to yourself– out loud if you can– “God is Love.”

5.  Let your next inhale create an empty space.  Sit in the aftermath of that thought: “God is Love.”

6.  With your next exhale, think again, “God is Love.”

7.  With your next exhale, enjoy the silence and emptiness.

8.  Continue this pattern, for most of the time you have remaining: ‘God is Love’ with the inhale; empty openness with the exhale.

9.  As your time nears it’s completion, let go of the mantra.  Widen your time of emptiness to both parts of the breath.

Through out your day today, experience the reality of ‘God is Love.’  And then, try to live in the space of quiet which transcends even those words.

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Background to exercise 4B:  In the exercise that follows, explore the difference between the in-breath and the out-breath.  Some authors describe these breath parts as “Breathing up” and “Breathing Down.”  or “Breathing in” and “Breathing out.”  Try each of these on for size.

If you tried exercise 4A, I recomend sticking with whatever mantra you used, so that you can isolate and therefore experience a single difference: Repeating your sacred words on the inhale, rather than the exhale.

Exercise 4B

1.  Sit as straight as you comfortably can.  Breathe for a few minutes and give yourself permission to relax.

2.  With your next inhalation, think, “God is Love.”

3.  Breathe out your thoughts, words and emotions.  Use your out-breath to cleanse yourself of everything but the silence.

4.  With your next inhalation, again, think “God is Love.”

5.  As you breathe out, release even your reflections on those 3 words.  Exhale your thoughts about this sacred phrase.

6.  Continue this pattern for the majority of the time you have given to your spiritual practice today.

7.  As you approach the end of the time, release your sacred phrase.  Use this time to enjoy wordless communion.  Or discuss with God what you learned today.  Or simply have a conversation with God about where you are and how things are going.

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Exercise 4C

Background:  Here is a thing worth exploring: How much of the empty space should you spend continuing to reflect on your sacred words, and for how much of it should you simply inhabit the silence?

This is particularly true when the sacred words are comprised of a list that you are cycling through.  As the sacred words change, they invite a different sort of reflection than repetetion.

The list I am suggesting today comes from Ecclesiastes 3.  Unfortunately for most of is, it can be challening to meditate on these truths with out bringing to mind the old song.

1.  Find your center: place your feet on the floor and relax.

2.  Inhale.  Say to yourself “There is a time to be born.”  

3.  Exhale.

4.  Inhale.  Say to yourself  “There is a time to die.”

5.  Exhale.

6.  Inhale.  Say to yourself, “There is a time to plant.”

7.  Exhale.

8.  Inhale.  Say to yourself “There is a time to kill.”

9.  Exhale.

10.  Inhale.  Say to yourself, “There is a time to heal.”

11.  Exhale.

12.  Inhale.  Say to yourself, “There is a time to tear down.”

13.  Exhale. 

14.  Inhale.  Say to yourself, “There is a time to build.”  

15.  Exhale.

16.  Inhale.  Say to yourself “There is a time to weep.”

17.  Exhale.

18.  Inhale.  Say to yourself “There is a time to laugh.”

19.  Exhale.  

20.  Inhale.  Say to yourself, “There is a time to mourn.”

21.  Exhale.

22.  Inhale.  Say to yourself, “There is a time to dance.”

23.  Exhale.

24.  Inhale.  Say to yourself, “There is a time to scatter stones.”

25.  Exhale. 

26.  Inhale.  Say to yourself, “There is a time to gather stones.”

27.  Exhale.

28.  Inhale.  Say to yourself, “There is a time to embrace.”

29.  Exhale.

30.  Inhale.  Say to yourself, “There is a time to refrain from embracing.”  

31.  Exhale.

32.  Inhale.  Say to yourself, “There is a time to search.”

33.  Exhale.  

34.  Inhale.  Say to yourself, “There is a time to give up.”

35.  Exhale.

36.  Inhale.  Say to yourself, “There is a time to keep.”

37.  Exhale. 

38.  Inhale.  Say to yourself, “There is a time to throw away.”

39.  Exhale.

40.  Inhale.  Say to yourself “There is a time to tear.”

41.  Exhale.  

42.  Inhale.  Say to yourself, “There is a time to mend.”

43.  Exhale.

44.  Inhale.  Say to yourself “There is a time to be silent.”

45.  Exhale.

46.  Inhale.  Say to yourself, “There is a time to speak.”

47.  Exhale.

48.  Inhale.  Say to yourself, “There is a time to love.”

49.  Exhale.

50.  Inhale.  Say to yourself, “There is a time to hate.”

51.  Exhale.

52.  Inhale.  Say to yourself “There is a time for war.”

53.  Exhale.  

54.  Inhale.  Say to yourself “There is a time for peace.”

55.  As you release the individual words, look back on how you felt about each of these.  Are there any that you struggle with?  Any that come easy?

You might, as you go about your day, assign the various joys and challenges of your life a part from this poem.  When entering into a conflict, you could think, for example “This is a time for war.”  When tempted to say something unwise, you might tell yourself, “This is a time for silence.”

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One thought on “Exercises #4A, 4B, and 4C: A Time of Silence, A Time for Words

  1. Pingback: You are welcome here. | The Faith-ing Project

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