Chapter X – Meditation
A Rule of Life
The Rev. Canon Charles LaFond
Life can be so busy and with so many moving parts. There always seems to be an over-caffeinated and over-functioning list of things to do and this list seems to invade me when I wake up in the morning like lilliputian office-workers camped out on my pillow, waiting to start screaming at me “Do this!” “No! Do this! It’s more important!” “Do it now!” “But this! What about this! It’s three days late!”
As a child of alcoholics, I was raised without the kind of connection, safety provision and guidance which might otherwise have been possible. This means that I need to take much greater care of myself since doing so does not come naturally to me. And this makes mornings very important.
Let this chapter of the Rule of lIfe remind me, gently and kindly, to relax, to awaken into silence and to remain in silence for a few hours before the day begins. I am aware that many – especially parents – are not able to enjoy morning silence and I will endeavor to pray that God forms safe times in their day to rest, pray or meditate. And for those whose poverty is time, I will join the church in praying for God’s provision of time and awareness so that the suffering from that kind of poverty is soothed and reduced. But for me, and my house, we will sit in silence, with a good lit candle each morning.
I need a place for meditation and I will go to that place to meditate – a comfy chair, a cushion, a bed or mat – the space will be different for each of us but a specific space for meditation is important if there is such a luxury of space.
Meditation will not be something about which I stress out. What irony that would be. So I will try to meditate daily but if I don’t I will not scold myself. Mediation can happen at a bus stop, in an office, at a stop sign (if there is no car behind you.) But I will try to remember how greta I feel when I take even a few minutes to stop words in my head and make space for God do sit with me and stroke my hair.
A retreat day monthly and a retreat of 10 days annually will be part of my Rule of life. It feels like a responsibility just like my desire that the pilot flying my plane has taken a day or so a month and a week or so a year to learn new flight technology. Being a priest who does not pray and meditate simply seems like a dangerous thing for the people in the congregation I serve. It seems that the people with whom I am working a s a priest, deserve a priest who prays. Furthermore, it seems that without prayer and meditation, I will be impaired in discernment and discretion – my “yes” and my “no” to what is said and suggested around me.
I will use my phone app, set it for bells to begin and end my meditation, and then sit for it, gently setting aside thoughts which clamor to be heard. They can be heard later. And they will. But for now, me, my God and this candle will sit and simply be together. I believe that the peace I inspire in my self through my spiritual practice, contributes, just a bit, to world peace and church peace. And I believe that if we all did this internal cleansing and seeing, we would achieve amazing things for God’s kingdom.