These instructions are good preparation for any period of intentional growth or time of deep listening or occasion of important ministry. Often these three are one in the same. The practice outlined below is also perfectly suited for this season of winter/darkness/ stillness. This practice interrupts busy-ness and creates a neutral zone. Neutral zones, holding spaces, times of pause are underrated in our output-, product-addicted society. These time-outs provide a palete cleanser to life, which crystalizes our focus, purpose and appreciation. May 2013 be filled with intentional pause practicing.
Breathing. Breathing is one of the only bodily functions that can be controlled both consciously and unconsciously. It is also a form of communion. Most yoga class instructors will have you begin by breathing in. Our beloved hymn Mediation on Breathing by Sarah Dan Jones starts with breathing in.
I am of a slightly different school. I think we should practice breathing out first. Empty your lungs first to make way for new air. Breath out love, appreciation, unique skills for your community. Breath in deep gulps of that goodness waiting for you. Breath in the peace that you have everything you need. Communion. We literally give and receive pieces of each other into our body. We carry each other. Don’t ever forget that.
Grounding. Imagine your core code, your personal theology, the ancestors whose shoulders you stand, your mission in the world, your purpose for your ministry. Hold it in your lap tenderly. Get its residue all over your hands so that when we do this work together you leave fingerprints everywhere you go. Now place it on the ground and put your feet firmly on it. Feel your feet solidly secure in that image and all it represents. Ground yourself.
Being. For the sake of this practice we will imagine that the past and the present live inside our bodies, primarily in our heads. Put your hands on your skull and gently rub. Calm the buzzy need to live in the past and present. That is version of multi-tasking that does not serve us well. Wipe off attachment to what was or what could and should be. Once your noggin is calm and close to empty, focus on what is outside yourself and all around you. Reality is in the present. Let us agree to live together in the now. Be radically present, out of our heads, together.
Happy New Year. May your year be full of intentional growth, wonder-full attention and vibrant ministry. And may you be fully prepared to take it all in.
Tandi Rogers is the Unitarian Universalist Growth Strategist. She gives a proper nod to Pir Zia Inayat Kahn, a Sufi teacher who inspired this blog. Zia Inayat Khan is the Pir or spiritual leader of the Sufi Order International, a Universalist Sufi order, and the founder of the Suluk Academy and Seven Pillars House of Wisdom.