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Rest for the mind

by davesandel on December 3rd, 2011

Practice from Invitation to Solitude and Silence by Ruth Haley Barton

From Chapter 6, “Rest for the Mind”

My heart is not lifted up, my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. – Psalm 131:1

Take three long, deep breaths to help yourself settle into the silence.  Notice how the breathing helps you release any physical tension that might be distracting you.  Notice (if you can) the different levels of your being, particularly the difference between your mind and your heart.  Give yourself a few moments to notice and experience what is going on in your mind and what is going on in your heart.

What is it you need to know in the stillness that you haven’t been able to know in the noisiness and busyness of your mind?  What is the “I don’t know” place in your life that no amount of thinking and wordiness has been able to touch with any kind of answer.

Sit with God with your question.  Say it out loud.  Tell him how it feels not to have the answer, but resist the urge to grasp for answers, to force clarity that isn’t there or cling to mental processes for figuring things out.  Allow related issues, concerns and thoughts to present themselves, but don’t dwell on them.  Let them pass by like clouds in the sky.  Rather than trying to figure anything out or grasp for anything, rest in God’s presence with your question.

If you notice yourself becoming impatient, ask, Am I willing to be patient with this thing that is unsolved in my heart?  What would it look like for me to stop working so hard on this and trust God to work in his way and his time?

Sit in silence for as long a time as you have allotted.  Close your time of silence by praying the Lord’s Prayer, allowing the words and phrases to shape your response to the question and to the next activity you engage in.


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