Category Archives: Exercise Progressions & Email Campaigns

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.

Day 14

Today’s Exercise:

1)  Release yourself from any obligations, tasks, or duties for the duration of your practice.
2) Sit up straight, with your feet flat on the floor.
3) Breathe deeply in through the nose.  Try and fill up the belly.
4) Exhale thoroughly through the mouth.
5) Recall these practices you have engaged over these last two weeks as you continue to breathe deeply.
6) When you are ready, move on to today’s practice.
7) With your next inhale, say or think, “Who am I, God?”
8) With your next inhale, say or think, “Who are you, God?”
9) Devote most of your time to these two questions.
10) When you are ready, release those questions.  Sit for a time
11) Before you return to your daily tasks, make some decisions about whether you will continue to make a daily investment in building your spiritual practice.

Please leave comments about this exercise, or the campaign as a whole, in the space below.

Day 13 of the Solstice and Advent Campaign

With only one day remaining on this campaign, it would be a great time to share your biggest struggles and biggest victories from these last couple weeks.  Please leave them in the comment section below.

The audio of today’s meditation is here:

A transcript of that recording:

Today’s Exercise:

1) Create the darkest environment you are able to.
2) Sit with your feet flat on the floor and your back comfortably straight.
3) Make yourself aware of the shadows and darkness around you.  Inhale.
4) Exhale your knowledge of what the room would look like in the light.
5) Inhale the darkness with the air.  Remind yourself that darkness is not necessary the same as evil.  Darkness can be unknowing, mystery, and that which transcends words.
6) Exhale your easy explanations.
7) Inhale, and bring your mind to the short days of December.
8) Exhale, and bring your mind to the long nights of December.
9) Inhale, and bring to mind the time before God came into the world (perhaps that means the birth of Jesus.)
10) Exhale, and think about the time you have been waiting for God to show up.
11) Spend several more breaths now, as long as you can, in the mystery.  Breathe in the darkness with each breath.  Breathe out the light of false, shallow rationalizations and easy explanations.
12) When you are ready, turn on enough light that you can safely light the candle.
13) Light the candle.
14) Let your eyes settle on the tip of the flame inhale.
15) Keeping your eyes on the tip of the flame, exhale.
16) Make yourself aware of the way the candle illuminates the darkness.  Inhale.
17) Notice the ways the room that you are in is still dark.  Exhale.
18) Notice this illuminated darkness.  Breathe it in.
19) Breathe out the illuminated darkness.
20) Inhale, and bring to mind the slowly lengthening days of January.
21) Exhale, and bring to mind the gradually shortening nights of January.
22) Inhale the light of the candle: see this light as God’s entry into the world.
23) Exhale that light to the people you love most in the world.
24) Stare at the tip of the flame.  Breathe slowly and easily.  In through the nose and out through the mouth.  When your mind begins to wander, return it gently to the flame.  Notice the smoke, rising up.

Day 9 of the Solstice and Advent Campaign

Here is the audio track for today’s practice:

You can help in turning The Faith-ing Project into a fully functioning community.  You can do this in several ways:

  • Share your thoughts, feelings, and criticism below in the comments.
  • email otherjeffcampbell7@gmail.com to share something directly with the Project’s Director, to join our next email campaign, or to ask to be placed on the mailing list.
  • Access exclusive content and help The Faithing Project share spiritual practices with a world in desperate need.  Become a  Patron.
  • follow @faithingproject on twitter.

Day 7 of the Advent & Solstice Campaign

Today, many of us celebrate Christmas Eve.  Our lives ramp themselves up to a fever pitch.  Perhaps this is the busiest, and the most stressed we will be in this entire year.
Many of the things we do are good things.  Some of them are great things.   Tradition and culture pressure us to rush here and there.  Family and friends are hoping to see us.   More than a few of our tasks are duties, expectations that we don’t feel we can escape.
This all can leave precious little room for the most important things. The things that we know are best.

It’s not so different from the Jesus story: there was no room at the inn.  There should have been.  But there wasn’t.
As pressures mount, I hope that today’s practice makes some room in the inn that is within you.  This practice is partially rooted in the Genesis account, which states that God reached down into the earth.  When God breathed into that dirt,something happened which made that dirt the very first human.  Perhaps this is where we inherited God’s image.
I believe that God’s initial act of creation is an ongoing event.  With each breath, God breathes into us.
Today’s exercise might be easiest to access via an audio file.  Click here to listen to it.  Continue reading if you would rather approach this exercise in it’s written form.

I would love to hear how this is going!  And I know that others will benefit from this to!  Please leave a comment below.

Here is the audio version of today’s practice:

Today’s Exercise:

1.  Sit up, straight and comfortable.
2.  For the duration of your practice today, release yourself from your comitments.  Give yourself permission to engage this practice fully.
3.  Take a deep, cleansing inhale.  Place your hand on your belly and do your best to feel it move; fill your lungs from the bottom, up.
4.  Exhale fully, from the bottom of the lungs through the top.
4.  With your next inhale, see that this in-breath is God breathing into you.
5.  Exhale, fully.
6.  With your next inhale, remind yourself of God’s presence, breathing into you.
7.  Exhale, again.
8.  Inhale God’s breath into you.
9.  For these next few breaths, we will focus on the exhales.  With each breath we will be exhaling tension from our body.  Continue to breathe slowly and fully.
10.   remember that each inhale comes straight from God as we engage this.
11.  Inhale, God’s breath.
12.  Now, exhale.  But with your breath, exhale the tension from your feet and calves.  Blow it out through your mouth.
13.  As you inhale God’s breath, feel it filling your all the way down to your feet.
14.  As you exhale, breathe out the stress from your knees and thighs.
15.  Inhale a breath straight from God.   This breath is what makes you human.
16.  Exhale the tension from your lap and buttocks.
17.  Inhale God’s breath into the space you have made.  Feel it travel downward from the lungs to the whole lower half of your body.
18.  Exhale the tension from your abdomen and lower back.
19.  Feel God breath out, and into you.
20.  Exhale the tension from your chest and upper back.
21.  Inhale a breath from God.  Feel the breath first fill your lungs.  Let that divine breath fill up the empty space you have made.
22.  Exhale the tension from your next and shoulders.
23.  Inhale and feel God’s breath fill you from toes to neck.
24.  Exhale the tension from your head.  Feel it leave your brow, jaw, and the base of your skull.  Exhale this stress with your breath.
25.  Now, as we begin to draw this exercise to a close, continue to draw God’s breath into the empty space you have created.  With this next inhale, feel that this oxygen that is spreading to every inch of you is carrying God’s love.
26.  Exhale stress and tension.
27.  Inhale, and see that God’s breath is filling up the empty space within you with the deepest Peace.
28.  Exhale your worries and concern.
29.  With this next inhale, bring God’s breath into the tips of your fingers and toes.  Draw it up to the top of your skull.  Feel it in all the places in between.  And know that this breath is peace.

 

 

Solstice & Advent, Day 4

Below is the audio track you can use for today’s exercise:

In the comment section below, I hope you will leave some thoughts and observations about these first four days of this campaign.

 

Solstice & Advent: Day 2

This is a space to  share any reactions, thoughts, or comments from the 2nd day of the email campaign.  If you would like to join us for the remaining 12 days of this campaign (free of charge) fill out the contact form above, or email otherjeffcampbell7@gmail.com  A few questions that come to my mind right now:

#1) What was today’s practice like for you?  What were some similarities and some differences between Day 1 and Day 2 for you?

#2) Do you feel like you have much of an answer to the questions you have been asking?  Can you put this answer into words?

#3) Is there a benefit to asking questions that don’t have easy answers?

#4)  What kinds of things are you struggling with on these practices?  What is going well?  Is anything surprising you?

___________________________________________________________________________________

You can help in turning The Faith-ing Project into a fully functioning community.  You can do this in several ways:

  • Share your thoughts, feelings, and criticism below in the comments.
  • email otherjeffcampbell7@gmail.com to share something directly with the Project’s Director, to join our next email campaign, or to ask to be placed on the mailing list.
  • Access exclusive content and help The Faithing Project share spiritual practices with a world in desperate need.  Become a  Patron.
  • follow @faithingproject on twitter.