This week’s Agape Meditation newsletter, supplement to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church service, draws our attention to the anxiety and fear that are prevalent in our world and offers a simple remedy.
Sunday, October 5, 2014
Twenty-seventh Sunday Ordinary Time
Agape’ Meditation Practices Newsletter
Supplement to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church Service
Brothers and sisters: Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me. Then the God of peace will be with you.
Phil 4: 6-9
Is 5: 1-7
Ps 80: 9, 12-16, 19-20
Mt 21: 33-43
When Anxious, Turn to God
We live in an anxious world. There is unrest, conflict, poverty, hunger, war. We worry about how our needs will be met from day to day. Paul acknowledges the anxiety that pervades the human condition and offers the remedy, and that remedy is GOD. Meditation, prayer, contemplation, being attentive to what in our lives we are grateful for, engaging in those activities which help us to feel fulfilled and which give our lives meaning, all work toward replacing our anxiety with peace.
Where in your life are you feeling anxious?
How are you using this anxiety as a cue to return your attention to God?
What practices do you have that help you to move from anxiety to peace?
Spiritual Practices – Engaging our Anxiety through Tonglen
Tonglen is a spiritual practice from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Tonglen is based on the Buddhist principle that “what we resist will persist.” Through Tonglen, instead of turning away from unpleasant feelings (resisting), we turn toward them so that they may be transformed. This week, you are invited to engage in the practice of Tonglen as a way of transforming your anxiety into peace.
- When you find yourself feeling anxious (afraid, scared), instead of pushing it away or judging it as bad, allow yourself to FEEL the anxiety.
- As you feel the anxiety, become aware of WHERE you are feeling it in your physical body. Some people feel anxiety in their gut, some in their heart, some in their neck and shoulders, perhaps it is in your left ankle.
- Holding your awareness in the physical place where you are feeling anxiety, breath into it. Breathe the anxiety into the place you are feeling it.
- From the physical sensation of anxiety, breathe out love.
- Breathe into the anxiety, and breathe out love.
- Continue this practice until you feel the anxiety shift into something else. Perhaps there will be a release through tears. Maybe it will shift from anxiety to anger. Maybe it will change from anxiety to peace.
- Continue this practice throughout the week whenever you find yourself feeling anxious.
FEAR/ANXIETY are the symptoms of humanity’s core spiritual wound. This core spiritual wound arises out of the false perception of separation from God, and is the natural consequence of choosing to experience the human condition. In choosing the human condition, we chose to temporarily forget our Oneness with God in love. The good news is that in allowing us the freedom to choose the human condition, God also planted within us the seed of remembrance so that somewhere deep inside us, we would always remember and be drawn toward our original nature as One with God. The path toward this remembering is what Jesus came to teach us. Through meditation, prayer, contemplation, and any experience that helps us to experience peace, love, joy and fulfillment, we have an opportunity to remember our Oneness with God and be restored to our original state of contentment and joy. The more we actively engage in these practices, the more we remember our Oneness with God and the more often we know peace.
How are you being invited to begin or deepen a daily spiritual practice? (hint, spiritual practice consists of anything that helps you to experience peace, joy, love or fulfillment).