Second email in the Lenten Apophatic/ Cataphatic Exploration

Every 3 days or so, we are exploring the distance between the apophatic and cataphatic through the lens of Lent via email.  If you would like to sign up for the rest of the series, email otherjeffcampbell7@gmail.com or use the contact form at the top of this page.

Here is the second email in the series:

Lent is a remembrance of Jesus time in the desert.  Though he will eventually fast for 40 days and face of with the personification of evil, when it began he was fresh out of his baptism.  They had heard the voice of God and seen a dove-like spirit descend.  It was a time of light and optimism, a time where words could easily express the things that were going on.
In recognition of this, we are beginning this Email Exploration focused on the Cataphatic: the light-filled, the joyous, that which can be expressed in words.
Today’s practice comes out of Buddhist Traditions.  It is practiced in that context as a walking meditation; a time to notice and affirm all that is around.  Here, it is expressed as a sitting contemplation.  Though I encourage you to try it in other contexts.

Place your feet flat on the floor.  

2.  Breathe deeply, in through the nose and out through the mouth.

3.  When you are ready to begin, with the inhale, think “Yes.  Yes.  Yes.”  With the exhale, think, “Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.”  Devote most of your practice today to this step.

4.  Spend some time thinking about what you have in your life to say “Thank you for.”  Consider the things you might be saying “Yes.” To.

5.  When you are ready, release all these words.  Spend some time in wordless union.

There is a lot to be gained by deciding, in advance, how long you will devote to your spiritual practice each day.  Committing to a set time– even if it is just 5 or 10 minutes a day, is a powerful investment in yourself.  Timers on phones– or even ovens– are a great place to start.  Apps such as the insight meditation timer are even better.  They can be set to periodically chime so that we know how long we have been at it.
One of the most significant (and surprising) benefits of sticking with your practice for a set time is that lots of important soul “work” happens when things begin to get difficult.  If I have not made the plan to keep going, I am likely to quit just as things get hard.  To continue through these difficult patches is where the real growth occurs

In some ways, today’s practice is the most Cataphatic of all the practices we will engage in over this Email Exploration.  Through out the season of Lent, you can look forward to a new email about every 2 or 3 days. It is highly recommended that you engage these practices each day.  However, if a given practice is not resonating with you, you might try repeating a practice from earlier in this Email Exploration.
The next email will be on its way Monday Morning.  Though the next practice is also very light and word-dependent, it will begin to lay some groundwork for more apaphatic practices.

2 thoughts on “Second email in the Lenten Apophatic/ Cataphatic Exploration

  1. Lori

    So first I want to comment on the first practice. I love it. I have been doing it at night right before bed. Each part speaks.
    Be still and know that I am God. Relax, open yourself to me. I am God. God of everything. Your God.
    Be still and know that I am. I am the I AM.
    Be still and know that I. Me. I am God. I am personal to you.
    Be still and know that. That what, Father? What do you want me to know? What do you want to say to me? In my stillness, how do you want to be with me?
    Be still and know. Know Me, as I know you. This is about how we know each other.
    Be still and. And what? What more is needed? Being still with you is enough.
    Be still. Just be with me. You do not need to do anything. Just be still with me.
    Be. You are enough. Just be, be with me, your Father who loves you and who made you, who wants you to just be. You are enough!

    More on the second practice after I’ve done it a time or two more…

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  2. Jeff Post author

    Lovely, Lori. I think this is really the power and strength of this practice: That no matter where you cut off, it has a meaning. Thanks so much for posting!

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