A Contemplative Wanna-Be
Sheila Kunzweiler of Dayton, OH, USA
In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of every human being. -Job 12:10
After my morning walk with my dog, I settled in for a time of contemplative prayer. I love autumn more than any other season of the year. The decaying of plant life and the leaves falling from the trees are a metaphor for me of hunkering down and preparing for new birth. Because of the position of the sun my house is darker than usual, so I like to light candles as the soft glow adds to the atmosphere of stillness and quiet.
I began by breathing deeply and repeating my focus word Ruach. No sooner had I started than my dog came trotting into the room and began “talking” to me. I was determined that he would not disturb me, and I began frantically repeating my focus word in an effort to keep my mind from wandering. Then, without warning, he jumped into my lap, sighed deeply, and rested his head on my shoulder.
“What’s this?” I wondered. You see, my dog is a cattle dog mix, and resting is not in his vocabulary. He wears this look about his face as if to say, “Give me a job to do. I need to be active!”
We sat there, chest to chest, our hearts thudding in unison, and me barely breathing for fear that the slightest movement would send him jumping down and on to the next activity. However, he stayed in that position with me for the 20 minutes that I engaged in the contemplative activity. Is it possible that my four-legged companion is a contemplative wanna-be?! I don’t know, but I do believe I was reminded of the gift God has given us in our animal companions. After all, dog is God spelled backwards! Oops, gotta go; someone needs the ball thrown for him!
I surrender into your love.
Set a timer for 20 minutes. (If that feels like too much at first, choose a time that will be comfortable for you as a starting place, committing to expand that time in future prayer.) Allow the rhythm of your breath to draw you deeper and deeper into silence. As you breathe, claim one sacred word (Christ, peace, grace, trust, etc.) emerging in you as an anchor to return you to the intention of your prayer when your thoughts begin to wander. Gently release the thoughts and images that come, making space for presence to the One who is with you here and now. Release, return, “be vulnerable to divine grace” (Doctrine and Covenants 163:10b).
Today’s Prayer for Peace
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