Coming to Rest
The reflection today will be in four parts:
Let be, and
There will be a short time of guided practice at the end of each part of the reflection. Those of you who have the time available could use this as a full morning or day retreat, allowing time in between to be quiet and reflective.
Opening Music: The Pearl
You could take more time at this point to allow yourself to settle down and relax. To do this you could do some gentle yoga stretches, or take a mindful walk around the garden. You could also slowly drink a cup of tea, paying attention to the taste and sensations of the tea in your mouth. Try to bring your awareness to your body, and pay deliberate attention to whatever you are doing.
Spend some time reflecting on this description of letting go by Richard Rohr:
"Authentic spirituality is always on some level or in some way about letting go. Jesus said, “the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). Once we see truly what is trapping us and keeping us from freedom we should see the need to let it go. But in a consumer society most of us have had no training in that direction. Rather, more is supposed to be better. True liberation is letting go of our false self, letting go of our cultural biases, and letting go of our fear of loss and death. Freedom is letting go of wanting more and better things, and it is letting go of our need to control and manipulate God and others. It is even letting go of our need to know and our need to be right—which we only discover with maturity. We become free as we let go of our three primary energy centers: our need for power and control, our need for safety and security, and our need for affection and esteem."
You could spend some time practicing with a gesture of letting go:
When you find yourself caught up in some mind-loop or inner constriction, mirror this by clenching your fists very tightly.
Now gradually release your fists and open your hands outward in a gesture of release.
As you do this, allow yourself to let go of whatever held you in its grip.
Music: Let it be
The following audio file is a guided meditation that will take you through these steps in a flowing movement:
Music: Return to me
For further reflection:
Below are some of the quotes from the talk, and some additional quotes, for you to reflect on further. But I also encourage you to spend some time in leisurely rest, enjoying simply BEing.
David Frenette, writing about letting go:
"Letting go is at the heart of centering prayer. As you let go, you open into God, unfold toward others, expand into life. Letting go frees you from the tight grip of self, from the trap of obsessive mind, from the contraction of self-will."
Meister Eckhart used the word “Gelassenheit”, which means “letting go, ceasing to cling, ceasing to insist on our way, ceasing to tense ourselves up for this or against that”.
Jean Pierre de Caussade:
The divine will
is a deep abyss
of which the present moment
is the entrance.
If you plunge
into this abyss
you will find it
infinitely more vast
I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”
David Frenette, writing about letting be:
"Letting be is a more refined movement of faith and trust that, in the words of Julian of Norwich, “all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.” Everything has its fulfillment, in God. As you practice deep trust and let everything be, just as it is, in God, you participate more and more in the divine life itself—being in God’s Being."
Van Morrison (from the song called “In the Garden”):
The summer breeze was blowin' on your face…
And as the shiver from my neck down to my spine
Ignited me in daylight and nature in the garden…
And we felt the presence of the Christ
Within our hearts in the garden
And I turned to you and I said
"No guru, no method, no teacher
Just you and I and nature
And the Father in the garden"
Listen, no guru, no method, no teacher
Just you and I and nature
And the Father and the Son
And the Holy Ghost in the garden wet with rain
“This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says:
‘In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength’ ”
‘In returning, letting go and coming to rest is your salvation,
in quietness, trust and letting be is your strength’
“The power of God comes through rest – to us and then to those we serve. … Rest is a restoration and a reordering of what is twisted in us. We allow ourselves to be loved. We allow ourselves to be human. We stop and allow ourselves to be healed by God.”
“A fully lived life is not dependent on what we do or on whether we deem it to be worthwhile or not. It is about the sheer simplicity of being. Being what? That we shall discover only when we rest awhile from being everything that we think we are.”
Ending prayer (Psalm 131):
“My heart is not proud, O LORD,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
But I have stilled and quieted my soul;
like a weaned child with its mother,
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
O Israel, put your hope in the LORD
both now and forevermore.”