Silent Sunday:
Being Present to Presence
tree smaller.jpg

The last year has been a very challenging one for many of us, and this raises the question:

    How do we stay rooted in times of turmoil or distress?

In this Silent Sunday resource, we will explore the practice of being present to Presence as a way of becoming more sturdy, grounded and rooted in God's I Am presence.

Opening music:

Pange Lingua Gloriosi Gregorian ChantAdoration hymn
00:00 / 06:10

The following is a guided prayer for becoming present:

Being Present to PresenceGuided Prayer
00:00 / 15:02

Prayer walk: Learning from a tree

  • Take a slow mindful walk towards a tree that catches your eye. Pay attention to the feeling of walking, and with each step say “Here I am”, as you allow yourself to be present to the I Am Presence of God, held by the ground with each step.

  • Once you reach your tree, greet it, and use your senses to experience it. Use your eyes to really look at it; feel its bark with your fingers; notice if there is any smell that you can detect, any sound as the breeze blows through its branches or leaves.

  • Feel the sturdiness and presence of the tree. Offer the tree your attentive presence as you receive the gift of its presence. Allow it to teach you stillness and sturdiness of presence. Remember that trees take a long time to say anything, especially if it is worthwhile to say it (according to Treebeard from the Lord of the Rings). So allow enough time to let your tree teach you what it has for you.

I know that not all of you will be able to get to a tree during this time of reflection, so I thought I would share my tree with you in the movie below, but in the next week I encourage you to try to sidle up to a tree when you do see one and spend some time  experiencng its sturdy groundedness and presence.

 

Listen or sing along to the following chant:

Whichever way you turnFran McKendree and Friends
00:00 / 05:31

Song lyrics: 

Whichever way you turn

There is the face of God.

Read the following passage through twice or three times, and listen for any word or phrase that seems to be inviting you to linger with it.

Psalm 1 (paraphrase)

Blessed are those who recognise the habitual patterns

  of control, manipulation and self-deceit;

and who choose instead to return

  to the Present One

  in quiet simplicity and trust;

  finding again the freedom of open-hearted surrender to the Beloved, our God.

They are like trees planted by ever-flowing streams of water,

  that naturally yield fruit without strain or effort,

  and whose leaves flourish.

In all that they do, they cannot help but bring life.

Without this rootedness, 

 people are like tumbleweed, blown in the wind.

Not knowing the generosity of God's heart,

 all they know is scarcity and mistrust.

They will isolate themselves from wisdom,

  living in their self-imposed prisons of separation.

Those who are rooted deeply in God come to know the beauty of Unity,

  as the illusions that are born from ignorance will perish

  in the Light of the Beloved's presence and grace.

After spending some time reflecting on the reading, listen to the following song as a form of prayer:

Here I AmJohn Michael Talbot
00:00 / 05:26

Lyrics - Here I am

Here I am
Standing right beside you
Here I am
Do not be afraid
Here I am
I'm waiting like a lover
I am here
Here I am.

 

Do not fear
When the tempter beckons
Do not fear
Even though you might fall
Do not fear
For I have conquered evil
Do not fear
Never be afraid.

 

Here I am…
 

 

I am here
In the face of every child
I am here
In every warm embrace
I am here
With tenderness and mercy
Her I am
I am here.

 

Here I am…
 

I am here
In the midst of every trial
I am here
In the face of your despair
I am here
In pardon and forgiveness
Here I am
I am here.

 

Here I am…
 

For further reflection: 

Here are the quotes from the introduction and some additional quotes for you to reflect on further:

A tree gives glory to God by being a tree.” ― Thomas Merton

Look at a tree, a flower, a plant. Let your awareness rest upon it. How still they are, how deeply rooted in ‘just being’. Allow nature to teach you stillness. When you look at a tree and perceive its stillness, you become still yourself.” ― Eckhart Tolle

"Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor." ― Thich Nhat Hanh.

"The spiritual life can only be lived in the present moment, in the now. All the great religious traditions insist upon this simple yet difficult truth. When we go rushing ahead into the future, or shrinking back into the past, we miss the hand of God, which can only touch us in the now. My favourite reminder on this point comes from the Sufi teacher Kabir Helminski: 'Whoever makes all cares into one care, the care for simply being present, will be relieved of all care by that Presence, which is the creative power.'"   Cynthia Bourgeault

The meaning of life is found in openness to being and 'being present' in full awareness.” ― Thomas Merton

Ending prayer: 

Beloved, our God, we pray that as we become more deeply rooted

  and established in your Presence, in love,

we may be empowered, together with all of the people of your creation,

 to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is your love, 

and to become convinced of this love that surpasses rational knowledge—

that we may be filled to overflowing with your generous, outpouring abundance.

Amen

(Adapted from Ephesians 3:17-19)

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