This week I received this affirmation card from Unity. I'm on their mailing list and they send me lovely inspirational prayers, poems and booklets upon request. This card came unexpectedly. I didn't request it, but I sure did need it!
When I read the words of the affirmation I thought to myself, "Well, I'm not feeling this right now, that's for sure," which in itself is a cautionary tale. "So, where are you?" my wiser self asks.
Honestly? In the middle of pandemic like everyone else. A little bit lost in boredom and feelings of isolation. A note of worry or fear creeps in now and then. But mostly I feel agitated, ill-at-ease within myself. Not sleeping well, distracted, disoriented.
The questions beg to be asked: So what can you do in this moment to hold yourself kindly, with loving presence? What might you need to move away from so you can move toward the freedom that is expressed in the affirmation card—to feel unworried and free from tension?
For me, I need to experience less noise and more quiet. Have fewer items on my To-Do list and more rest. Less focusing on day-to-day drama and more attention paid to breath and being at ease in the moment.
One of the best ways for me to cultivate presence for myself in this time of pandemic and begin to "move easily in the flow of life" is to engage in Listening Meditation.
Years ago, I made this short video offering instruction for Listening Meditation. I hope you find it helpful. I still find it remarkable how letting go of doing anything in particular other than listening can return us to ease—even in difficult times.
Today, in the early hours of the morning, I sit listening to a cacophony of birds doing their daily rounds: calling to one another, rustling in the underbrush locating twigs to build nests, and singing gentle songs of new life to come. In just a few minutes, I feel myself back in the flow of life ... May it be so for you with the help of Listening Meditation.
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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.