Meditation Readings: 23/10/2014

READINGS - 23/10/2014

Awakening of spirit 
John Main OSB
The writers of the Eastern Church, the Orthodox tradition, said that the task of prayer is to awaken the heart, to awaken the heart above all to the reality of the presence of God’s indwelling Spirit. They speak of our hearts being asleep. I think there is a real sense in which learning to meditate is learning to become fully alive, fully alive in the Spirit. And we are of course fully alive only when we are fully awake. When the Buddha’s disciples went to him and asked, ‘Who are you? Are you the all-wise? Are you the almighty? Are you the all-powerful?’ the Buddha replied, ‘I am the one who is awake. I am awake.’ That wakefulness is of the essence of meditation.
Now when we begin to meditate, as you may know already from your experience, we have to face that fantastic indiscipline of our minds. Our minds are just hopping away like a little child who has just been given a hoop or something like that, and we cannot control it. It’s just whizzing around everywhere as we are trying to say our mantra and just saying, ‘It’s impossible; I can’t do it.’ That is the first thing you’ve got to do, you’ve got to face that initial shame that you cannot control your mind. And as long as we cannot control it we cannot come to that deep silence within us, because the din is too great. That’s where the mantra and the simplicity of it fulfils its first task: to bring those surface areas of the mind into harmony with the deeper peacefulness within. That is the first task of the mantra.
Take the words that Jesus himself spoke to the disciples in Gethsemane – you remember, he had gone off to pray, to pray by himself. As Matthew puts it, he went by himself to ‘stay awake and pray’; and when he came back to the disciples, who had fallen asleep, he said: ‘Could you not stay awake and pray with me?’ Mark puts a slightly different emphasis when he says: ‘Could you not be alert and be wakeful?’ Meditation therefore, in the Christian tradition too, is this process that helps us to move towards a totally wakeful state by becoming deeply sensitive to the living Spirit of God dwelling within us. To achieve this we need to develop a certain skill that isn’t at all common among our contemporaries: being totally relaxed and totally awake at the same time. Falling asleep at medi- tation has always been a big problem because once we start to relax, we immediately get into the area of sleep.
Saying the mantra is just the coming to this alert stillness. And it can be quite a problem as most of us are used to becoming quite busy in our rites and our rituals and the saying of our prayers.
Heavenly Father, open our hearts to the silent presence of the Spirit of your Son. Lead us into that mysterious silence where your love is revealed to all who call. Maranatha, Come Lord Jesus.
From Meditation & The New Creation in ChristBEDE GRIFFITHS OSB
For most people this capacity for depth has been almost lost. It has been so obscured  that they are no longer aware of it. Particularly in the materialistic civilization in the West, people have lost this dimension in their lives. They are so occupied with the world around them and so absorbed in its problems, pleasures and pains, that they do not have the power to get beyond. 
By Laurence Freeman OSB
May this Community be a true spiritual home for the seeker, a friend for the lonely, a guide for the confused. 
May those who pray here be strengthened by the Holy Spirit to serve all who come and to receive them as Christ himself. In the silence of this retreat may all the suffering, violence and confusion of the world encounter the Power that will console, renew and uplift the human spirit. 
May this silence be a power to open the hearts of men and women to the vision of God, and so to each other, in love and peace, justice and human dignity. 
May the beauty of the Divine Life fill this Community and the hearts of all who pray here with joyful hope. 
May all who come here, weighed down by the problems of humanity, leave, giving thanks for the wonder of human life. We make this prayer through Christ our Lord. Amen.