Mindfulness in the every day
The best place to start is in daily life, in reality, in the mundane. When you get up in the morning, when you brush your teeth, have your breakfast, take a shower, you can choose to be fully present in that moment.
Whatever you are doing in life, whether it’s preparing for your day, sitting at your desk, your mind could be elsewhere, or you can bring your awareness to that present moment. Even in the daily routine of life you can make a conscious choice to develop mindfulness.
The Jesus prayer
The Jesus prayer involves focusing on the prayer ‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner’. You say, ‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God’ on the in-breath, and ‘Have mercy on me, a sinner’ on the out-breath.
I breathe deeply in and out and I say the Jesus prayer…I say that prayer over and over again as I breathe in and I breathe out. I focus on my breath. As you focus on your breathing it helps you take your mind away from your worries and into the present moment. It grounds you and brings you into the present rather than your mind worrying about every different anxious thought.
Lectio divina is a slow, meditative reading of scripture. It allows you to become still and open your awareness to the presence of God and the possibility of him speaking to you through the text. You suddenly become aware of detail that you miss when you speed-read. Every word counts; every word is there for a reason.
Centering prayer is about openness to God.
It’s about surrender. It’s about saying, ‘Here I am, fill me.’ You choose a sacred word, and you keep bringing the mind back to that when it wanders, as it always does. It’s a prayer that works on faith, because you can’t manipulate God, because you’re not trying to organise God or control God. It’s much more about sitting and letting God be. It’s a silent prayer to be filled with God and to be more in tune with the Spirit of God.
The examen is an examination of consciousness at the end of the day. What has been happening? Have I felt close to God?
Have I felt close to the joy of my life? Have I felt close to the whirlpools of anxiety of my life?
In my experience, the more you can practise that at the end of the day, the more you can say, ‘Ok, I’ll be returning to this tonight’, and even, ‘Tonight I’ll be greeting this with something approaching care’. It can help you notice what’s there.
Pádraig Ó Tuama
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