I have recently been exploring a practice called ‘Centering Prayer’ with my good friend the Urban Mystik and some other contemporary contemplatives. The idea of centering prayer is (basically) to let go of all the distractions that normally hold us, so that we can more truly meet with God. So we sit in stillness, we close our eyes, we let the noises of the world pass by, we release thoughts and emotions in an attempt to simply be…(its not as easy as it sounds!). One of my main reflections on this practice is how profound and apparently paradoxical it is to slow down so that we can meet with God. Surely God – as the Ultimate being – is faster than anything else?
Perhaps in a universal sense this is true (I could get very philosophical and quote C.S. Lewis’s observation that something moving at sufficient speed would in fact be in every place at the same time, and would appear not to be moving, but lets not overcomplicate things). By Grace we find that God is in fact the essence of the tortoise to humanity’s hare. Does God rush? No. Does God strive? No.
We spend (/waste) so much of our lives thinking and working or being anxious or proud based on the past or the future – both of which are often irrelevant to life, and cripple our ability to live in this moment. ‘God speed’ is not necessarily progress at a spectacular rate – it is acceptance of existence in the moment. Living…right now.
Thomas Merton (the author of the book we have been reading on Centering Prayer) says, “The spiritual journey does not require going anywhere because God is already present and within us.” We just need to wake up! And so I pray that you all might have ‘God speed’; sit back and chill out; rest from rushing and stop striving:
“Be still and know that I AM God”