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Rest for the body

by davesandel on November 26th, 2011

Practice from Invitation to Solitude and Silence by Ruth Haley Barton

From Chapter 5, “Rest for the Body”

I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother … — Psalm 131:2


Take three deep, slow breaths – long inhalations as well as exhalations.  Close your eyes if that helps you to relax into your breathing.  Let your intent be to rest your whole self into God, knowing you are as safe with him as a baby is with his mother.

As you breathe, notice what happens in your body.  Where are the tight places that relax as you breathe?  Is there any way your body wants to shift or change position in order to be more comfortable?  Make whatever adjustments will deepen your rest.

Continue to breathe, resting openly and simply in God’s presence for a few moments.  Notice how things are with your body these days.  What feels tired?  What feels energized?  What hurts or aches or feels tight?  What feels good and strong and well?  Does your body feel loved and cared for or unbalanced and abused?

Is there anything God seems to want to give you right now in response to your body’s need: a few minutes to curl up and rest under a warm blanket, a quiet walk, time to just keep sitting and relishing his presence?

Allow yourself to rest in God in this physical, tangible way for as long as you can in your time of solitude.  Close your silence with a brief prayer of gratitude for God’s care experienced in these moments.  Ask him to help you to remain in this resting stance in whatever activity you enter next.

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