Sunday, February 8, 2009

I noticed something in meeting this morning.  Sometimes, I find it hard to focus during meeting, and my mind wanders uncontrollably (I think of what Buddhists call shin-en, "monkey mind"--that's totally what I have).  I sit in meeting trying to calm it down, but it cavorts all over the place, chattering and shrieking despite my best efforts.  Vocal ministry comes and goes, but it's difficult for me to pay attention.  Sometimes, I even find it hard to stay awake.  So I try different techniques gleaned from my days of practicing meditation in high school:  changing my posture, visualizing, chanting some sound in my mind.  All this in an attempt to calm down my monkey mind.

But the past few weeks, meetings have been uniformly focused and worshipful.  I've been blessed to consistently find myself in a deep, luxurious and prayerful state.  I've been profoundly moved by the vocal ministry, but not necessarily by the things that are said.  I've truly felt where the words are coming from.  I was startled this morning to hear the booming voice of God thundering from the throat of a woman who stood to talk about the prophet Jeremiah.  She herself became a prophetess in that moment.  Her voice was like a bullhorn.  

This morning, I realized what the difference was.  The past few weeks, I've begun meeting for worship with prayer.  I simply speak to God, feeling him out, opening up to him with words.  I ask him explicitly to come bless us with his presence.  I ask him to come and sit among us, and I picture the meeting room covered with Spirit.  I don't really know how to describe this, but I see it covered over with something that looks like swirling water.  It's gentle, luminous, and clear.  I don't say "Amen" or anything like that to end the prayer;  instead of ending it, I allow it to feather out and diffuse.  When I begin with prayer, meetings for worship have been profoundly sweet.

Is that all it takes?  All I have to do is ask?  I don't need any tricks and techniques to enter a prayerful state, but only an open invitation, asking God to come and be present?  

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