Exercise 13: Aphatic Prayer with Pre-assigned Attributes

Background: Apaphatic Prayer can be a challenging– and transcendent– technique.

It is rooted in a tradition which focuses on defining God by stating that which he is not.  Proponents of this tradition say that when we say “God is infinite.”  We don’t actually have a way of truly imagining what this means.  The most we can say is “God is not finite.”

Apaphatic Prayer is rooted in a 3 step process:

  1. We begin with a statement, for example, “God is love.”
  2. We negate that statement, for example, “God is not Love.”  This negation is our admission that our limited, human concepts of “love” do not apply to God.
  3. We negate the negation.  “God is not not-love.”

The 3rd step is where the challenge is for most people.  This is an act of humility.  It is a recognition that we still can not fully know the ultimate, even by claiming God is both X and not X.

Exercise

  1. Place your feet flat on the floor.  As best you can, release your concerns and responsibilities.
  2. Breathe a few breaths.  Relax.
  3. With your next inhale, think (or say) God is love.
  4. With your next exhale, think (or say) God is not love.
  5. With your next inhale, think (or say) God is not not-love.
  6. For the next exhale and inhale, as best you can, clear your mind.
  7. With your next exhale, think (or say) God is father.
  8.  With your next inhale, think (or say) God is not father.
  9. With your next exhale, think (or say) God is not not-father.
  10. For the next inhale and exhale, as best you can, clear your mind.
  11. With your next inhale, think (or say) God is mother.
  12. With your next exhale, think (or say) God is not mother.
  13. With your next inhale, think (or say) God is not not-mother.
  14. For the next inhale and exhale, as best you can, clear your mind.
  15.  Consider continuing this pattern for any of the following: God is peace, God is wisdom, God is power, God is here, God is creator.
  16. Give a few minutes thought to which statements, negations, and negations of the negations were the most difficult for you.   Have a conversation with God about these feelings.
  17. When you are ready, release your words and thoughts.  Spend some time with God, enjoying wordless communion and new understandings of the divine.

 

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2 thoughts on “Exercise 13: Aphatic Prayer with Pre-assigned Attributes

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

  2. Pingback: Apaphatic Prayer with Variable Attributes | The Faith-ing Project

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