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Pure presence

by davesandel on December 31st, 2011

Practices from Invitation to Solitude and Silence by Ruth Haley Barton

From Chaper 10, “Pure Presence”

Solitude eventually offers a quiet gift of grace, a gift that comes whenever we are able to face ourselves honestly: the gift of acceptance, of compassion, for who we are as we are.  As we allow ourselves to be known in solitude, we discover that we are known by love.  Beyond the pain of self-discovery there is a love that does not condemn us but calls us to itself.  This love receives us as we are. – Parker Palmer

As you enter the silence today, take several deep breaths as a way of settling into the quiet intimacy that you and God have been learning to share.  Allow yourself to feel the safety of this time, this place, this Presence.  Take a few moments to just enjoy it.

As you are quiet in God’s presence, reflect on your response to God’s question at the end of chapter nine: What are you doing here, _________________________?  Is there any self-awareness that has come to you in answering this question?  Is there any area of your life where God is illuminating your need to be transformed?

Perhaps you are in a pre-awareness stage: you know something is not quite right, but you’re not sure what it is.  Perhaps you are in the midst of seeing yourself as you’ve never seen yourself before.  Maybe you are at the point of desperation, finally willing to lie back and let God do the work of stripping away the knottiest layers of the false self.  You may even be experiencing the silence that is full of the Presence of God, and you’re not quite sure if you can trust it.

Whatever is happening in the silence today, just stay in it without trying to run from it.  Tell God what you are experiencing, and ask him if there is anything he wants you to do in response.  Invite him to take initiative with you in regard to whatever you are seeing, and follow any promptings that come.  God has an uncanny ability to bring exactly what it is we need, right when we are ready to receive it.

Close your time in prayer today by reciting the Lord’s Prayer aloud, if possible.  Particularly if you are needing to let go of one of the handholds of your false self, envision yourself joining with Christ as he prays this prayer with his disciples.  Allow the praying of this prayer to anchor you in the Unchanging Reality of God’s kingdom, even though it feels as if everything around you is shifting and falling away.

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