This week, Upper Room Daily Reflections features excerpts from One Breath at a Time by J. Dana Trent.
OUR LIVES ARE SHAPED by long days, short years, frustrating people, inconveniences, and a chaotic world in need of love and healing. We are not static. We are dynamic, shaped and molded by each moment and experience. The spiritual life is about opening the doors of our soul and taking a look inside. At their essence, all contemplative spiritual practices crack open our hardened, restless hearts, weary and worn from life. Spiritual practices soften us, slow us, and allow God’s light and voice to enter us, so that we can, in turn, shine that light and love toward others. But it’s hard to slow down. It’s hard to breathe. It’s hard to meditate—or even to say we’re going to meditate. It’s hard to maintain a spiritual practice of any kind, especially one that urges us to be still and examine our heart, mind, and soul.
Beginning and maintaining a meditation practice doesn’t mean that we must escape to a mountain cave and remain silent the rest of our lives to reconnect with God. That’s not sustainable—and it’s certainly not realistic or accessible. Instead, we can keep an authentic practice right here and right now, even amid chaos, endless distractions, and our need for perfection. The world isn’t going anywhere; what matters, though, is how we engage (or don’t) with it.
—J. Dana Trent
One Breath at a Time: A Skeptic’s Guide to Christian Meditation
From page 104 of One Breath at a Time: A Skeptic’s Guide to Christian Meditation by J. Dana Trent. Copyright © 2018 by The Upper Room. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.
Try this spiritual practice today:
Extend God’s love to yourself, your loved ones, your enemies, and all God’s creation through these phrases:
May I/[name] be safe.
May I/[name] be healthy.
May I/[name] be happy.
May I/[name] be at peace. Share your thoughts.
He said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake;and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence.
—1 Kings 19:11-12, NRSV
This Week: Give thanks to God for giving you the breath of life. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.
Did You Know?
Practice seeing blessings all around you! Upper Room Books author Beth A. Richardson invites us to practice the Celtic way of seeing God in everyday life. Receive 20% off of the eCourse Christ Beside Me, Christ Within Me: Celtic Blessings.
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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