Background: As of the writing of this post, Advent has begun. The next several exercises will be devoted to this season of anticipation.
Today’s practice focuses on the theme commonly associated with the first week of Advent: Hope. This word can be utilized in a couple different ways. One is the approach that Centering Prayer and some Buddhist Meditations take. This is to use the word only when intrusive thoughts are distracting us. Alternatively, the word ‘hope’ might be used as a mantra. Click this link for more information on that exercise.
One important difference between Centering Prayer and Buddhists who use a word to release our preoccupation with distractions is that Centering Prayer invites us to think of the use of this word as a symbol of our consent for the Holy Spirit’s intervention into our quiet time. One important thing they have in common is that both groups emphasize the goal of being gentle with the use of the word, and avoiding the hamster wheel of becoming emotionally charged as intrusive thoughts threaten to distract us. Wise teachers have advocated that we aim for a sense of gratitude each time we use our sacred word and avoid the idea that we are “doing it wrong” each time we return to our practice.
- Place your feet flat on the floor. Take 3 cleansing breaths.
- Release your worries and concerns for this time. Do your best to clear your mind.
- As intrusive thoughts arise, dismiss them by thinking the word “hope.” Sink into this word.
- Continue this practice for as long as you wish.