In this reflection we will explore the theme of I Am, through the interweaving of a talk with music, readings and guided prayer.
Listen to the following piece of music as an opening prayer.
In this moment I welcome thee
Ever giving thyself to me
Talk length: 10 minutes
Read the following readings through twice or three times, with an attitude of open receptivity. Allow a few minutes of silence between the readings. Listen for any words that call out to you, or that draw you into the sacredness of silence that is deeper than your usual knowing:
Reading 1: Exodus 3:1-5, 14
Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.” When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”
And Moses said, “Here I am.”
“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” ...
God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”
Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
But only they who see, take off their shoes—
The rest sit round it and pick blackberries.
~ Adapted from Elizabeth Barrett Browning
I invite you into a time of prayer, using this guided practice for returning to presence, and then I invite you to rest into the quiet spacious I Am presence of God in the silence for as long as you would like to.
End the time of quiet prayer by listening to the following song:
Whichever way you turn
There is the face of God
For Further Reflection:
Below are the quotes from the talk and some additional quotes for you to take this theme further.
Holy Spirit, You are not me, yet you are not other than me.
You are the deep, wide knowing that is silent and always here,
the gentle awareness that cradles all of perception.
Always new, always fresh, yet steady, sure and never, ever absent.
My experience of you is truest when I am IN the drawing of this breath, the seeing from these eyes. Hold me right here in your heart, in your everlasting arms.
“You ask me: Who is God? What is God? I reply: Isness. Isness is God. Where there is isness, there God is. Creation is the giving of isness from God. ... God’s ground is my ground and my ground is God’s ground. All our works should work out of this innermost ground without a why or a wherefore. Then, God and the soul do one work together eternally and very fruitfully. Then, all that this person works God works. And just as I can do almost nothing without God, so too God can accomplish nothing apart from me."
Julian of Norwich described that God is “nature’s substance,” the very essence of life, so she described “smelling” God, “swallowing” God in the waters and juices of the earth, “feeling” God in the human body and the body of creation.
This place where you are right now
God circled on a map for you.
Wherever your eyes and arms and heart can move
Against the earth and sky,
The Beloved has bowed there-
Our Beloved has bowed there knowing you were coming.
I could tell you a priceless secret about
Your real worth, dear pilgrim,
But any unkindness to yourself,
Any confusion about others,
Will keep one from accepting the grace, the love,
The sublime freedom
Divine knowledge always offers to you.
There is an Inner Presence within each of us
It is part of our Being
The Life-force that makes us whole.
It connects us to the I Am
To Infinite Love
This Presence lives within us, through us, and around us.
It has an Energy
Some say it dwells in our hearts
Others feel it in their gut
The Wisdom-Keepers say it is our Soul.
I am not sure what to call it
I cannot point to its physical location
But I feel it somewhere in my chest burning like a tender flame
And its warmth spreads from there throughout my body.
I often get too busy, too noisy to be awake to its Presence
But it is always there waiting for me to become aware of it
To open my heart to its Wisdom.
And in those moments of quiet stillness
I am awed by its Mystery
I realize I am embraced by Infinite Love.
~brian j plachta
You have made us together,
you have made us one and many,
you have placed us here in the midst as witness, as awareness, as healing and as joy.
Here we are.
In us the world is present and you are present.
We are a link in the chain of light and of presence.
May our lives be for healing,
May our lives be for peace,
(Based on a prayer by Thomas Merton)
I am the rays of the rising sun
Snow on the mountains of the moon
The far-flung canopy of stars
The shadows of late afternoon
I am the wisdom of the sage
I am the refuge of all who weep
I am the mother of all who live
I am the promises I keep
I am the one who sits with sorrow
I am the one who feels your pain
I am the hope of your tomorrow
When all is lost, I still remain
I am the one who will remain
I am the seed that longs to bloom
The river yearning for the sea
The heartfelt hope of every womb
I am thе faith you place in me
I am the silеnce and the sound
The gentle rain that breaks the stone
I am the dream of love unbound
I am the way that calls you home
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Sharon's book that was previously called "Contemplative Living" has been republished by AnamChara Books under the title "Deeper: Finding the Depth Dimension Beneath the Surface of Life". The Kindle version is available from Amazon, and the hard copy version can be ordered from loot.co.za or Takealot, or from your local bookshop through Ingram Distribution.