When I started this blog, I had intended to write weekly. That was in the summer, my "less busy" work time. Then September came, students showed up for a new year of learning, and seekers returned to spiritual direction to get their spiritual lives back on track. In September I also had the great good fortune to serve as a spiritual director for "Conspire"—the annual conference of the Center for Action in Contemplation founded by Fr. Richard Rohr. After that, more teaching intensives, as well as a "Board Retreat" for Spiritual Directors International, on whose Council I serve. Now it's time to catch my breath ...
In truth, for me, I don't ever catch my breath because I never lose it. Breath is always here, a sacred touchpoint, and it's simply up to me to connect with it--rest into it—which is my primary spiritual practice. This resting into the breath is a path of "quieting," a term used by my lovely friend, Ann, who named it as one of her spiritual practices too. Quieting is a method, a path, and also a quality of being we can carry forth into the world. It is a path to the Divine and where the One dwells. At least it is for me ... so quieting is primary on my path of devotion.
This fall when I was quite busy with my work, I'd try to get a daily walk in if I could. I'd go to a place of beauty near my home, often near water, and just walk. No earbuds to fill up the quiet with noise. Just me--quieting—breathing and being, walking and noticing, savoring and communing.
The quiet to me is a balm, an oasis in a too busy world, and relief from my ever-busy planning mind. The quiet is comforting for my over-active nervous system as an empath. The quiet is my entryway to a sacred space of deep knowing that I am beloved and I am enough. And this is where the Divine meets me. I call it my "Temple of Quietness."
Sometimes when I walk I take photos of the temple of the day. I do this to create a memory for myself so on the days I'm unable to walk, I can attune myself to it, and step into quietness once again. This summer while on a 5-day silent retreat, I started creating short, 30-second videos from my walks in these sacred spaces. Just 30 seconds, because that's sufficient time to take 3 complete breaths—a profoundly centering and restorative practice.
Today, with the help of one of my Temple of Quietness videos, perhaps you too can take 3 complete breaths and drop into the exquisite energy of quietness. May restoration and ease be yours.
For Your Reflection
• What role does quiet play in your spiritual life?
• How do you uniquely access it?
• Do you have your own Temples of Quietness?
What was your first experience of the Divine?
Of a "presence" in your life?
Of Cosmic Connection?
Of Boundless Peace?
One of my earliest memories of the deep Alrightness of Life (God?) was through light. As a toddler I was drawn to sunlight coming through the living room window of my childhood home. The beams would shine through the pane, creating a bright, warm space on the carpet. I would lie down directly in the beam, close my eyes, and let myself be bathed in its warmth. Eyes open, I'd watch the dust motes dance through its gossamer path.
What did I feel?
Safety and comfort.
Awe and wonder.
A sense of the profound perfection of things.
A cosmic hug, deep rest.
I didn't have words for this experience at the time. I only knew it as how I felt. I felt held. By Something. Something greater than a simple sunbeam; an expression of Pure Beingness.
I loved this experience and would return to it again and again even as I grew older. My sense today is that it was a type of transcendent experience, one that drew me into the heart of the Universe in a loving way. And into knowing.
Knowing what connected me to Something greater than myself and trusting it. Following its lead and surrendering into it.
I tend to live my life this way. I listen deeply with my body to recognize That which offers comfort and safety. These initial sensations open me to More—to deep peace, then to heart expansion, ultimately resting in Divine Love for everything and everyone.
Following the path of sunbeams.
For Your Reflection:
• What was your first experience of "Connection"?
• How do you recognize the Sacred?
• How do you know that which is Real for you?
A safe and welcoming space to explore the unfolding nature of our spiritual journeys.
Dr. Janice Lynne Lundy (PsyD, DMin, MPC)
is The Gerald May Professor of Spiritual Direction & Counseling at the Graduate Theological Foundation. She is an interspiritual director/mentor, educator and counselor who has been pointing people back toward the Sacred for nearly thirty years.