Tag Archives: sacred word

Exercise 12: Constant Repetition

Background: Any word, repeated enough, begins to sound like nonsense.

It seems to me that when we use a word only once or twice, we have an easy time mistaking the letter-sounds for the thing those letters stand for.  But as we repeat the word, we come face-to-face with the fact that the sounds are arbitrary.  For example, when we say the word ‘cat’ once, we get a picture in our mind.  But when we say the word repeatedly, we are reminded there is nothing inherent to those letters that actually connects them to the animal.  It is merely an agreement that more-or-less randomly assigned these particularly sounds.

Saying a word over and over, creates a sort-of white noise, for me.  It begins with the meaning of the word.  But slowly even this fades into the background, leaving me in a state beyond words.

Exercise

  1. Place your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Choose your sacred word.
  3. Say the word.  Out loud, if possible.  Say it with out ceasing.  Say it a calm, measured rate; say it as many times as you can with each exhale.  Think it, or mouth it as many times as you can with each inhale.
  4. If you find yourself distracted by thoughts or feelings, return your attention to the saying of that single word.

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Exercise 11: The Word We Need the Most

Background: One of the most stunning images in the book of Revelation is the idea that we will be given a stone engraved with our true name.

I don’t know if we can find that true name in this life.  But I do know that sometimes, a single word can make a whole lot of difference.

As you engage this, or any practice which seeks to clear the mind, do your best to recognize that the goal is not to have a distraction-free mind.  Don’t grow frustrated as thoughts, feelings, and memories enter your awareness.  It is your mind’s job to furnish thoughts, feelings, and memories.  These will arise.  Growing frustrated with them chains us to a hamster wheel, a vicious circle.

Instead of growing frustrated with the “intrustions.”  Give yourself a bit of credit as you remember to gently dismiss these perceptions with your sacred word.

Exercise:

  1. Place your feet flat on the floor.  Breathe slowly in through your nose and out through your mouth.
  2. Ask God– or yourself– where you are, right now.  Consider how you are doing.
  3. Move on to thinking about what it is you most need.  
  4. As best you can, boil this down to a single word.  Consider words like “Peace.”  “Loved.”  “Calm.”  “Safe.”  “Settled.”
  5. Say that word that you need the most.  Hear it being said to you.  Hear it being said by you.
  6. Continue your slow and careful breathing.  Release everything else.
  7. When thoughts, feelings, concerns threaten to intrude, introduce your sacred word.  Be assured: This word, applied gently to the intrusion, is enough.  It will dismiss your concerns.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

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, or to ask to be placed on the mailing list.
  • Access exclusive content and help The Faithing Project continue to deliver this conetent to a world in need: become a Patron.
  • follow @faithingproject on twitter.

 

Exercise 10: Centering Prayer

Father Thomas Keating has popularized a practice that is rooted in a centuries-old book called ‘The Cloud of Unknowing.’

It begins with the choice of a sacred word.  It should be noted that this sacred word might be an image, or even the breath itself.  The instructions below presume the practioner is going the word-route.

Some of the more popular words chosen include “Love”  “Loved”  “Spirit”  “God” and “Yahwew.”  Before you begin, it is wise to have chosen your sacred word.  You should stick with your sacred word at least through the duration of your practice.

Proponents of centered prayer advocate working up to 2-30 minute sessions each day.

Exercise

  1.  Place your feet flat on the floor and relax.
  2. Say your sacred word.  Recognize that this is your consent to the holy spirit to come and meet with you.
  3. As best you can, clear your mind.
  4. Know that thoughts and feelings are bound to arise.  Each time they do, dismiss them gently by saying your sacred word.
  5. Set a goal of continuing this practice for at least 20 minutes; half an hour is even better.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

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, or to ask to be placed on the mailing list.
  • Access exclusive content and help The Faithing Project continue to deliver this conetent to a world in need: become a Patron.
  • follow @faithingproject on twitter.