It’s not always easy to sit down and meditate, but practice makes perfect! If you’ve ever thought you couldn’t do silent or meditative prayer, this video is for you. In it, I go over some simple methods to warm up to silent prayer exercises that build on mindfulness.
Mindfulness, explained simply, is about focusing our awareness on the present. Often, it’s confused with an idea that claims that we ought to find peace by completely clearing our minds — which is, by our nature, impossible — and mindfulness is quite the opposite. We cannot shut off our mind, but we can pay attention to what’s going on inside.
These practices are about more than a momentary feeling of inner peace. What mindfulness practice allows us to do is ground ourselves in the present moment, and calmly acknowledge our thoughts and feelings as they pass through us. We get the chance to observe our inner sensations and feelings that daily life rarely allows for. That can help us with insight, creativity, and problem solving. And by becoming more aware of how our minds work day to day, mindfulness can help with impulsiveness and reactive emotions.
However, we don’t enjoy these benefits overnight. Mindfulness is a skill that comes with practice, so please don’t feel discouraged if you find it difficult at first. Try these introductory exercises, and work your way from there. Give it some time, and consider reviewing some of the resources I reference in the video for additional pointers.
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Teresa Blythe is a full-time spiritual director, supervisor and trainer of spiritual directors. She is the former director of the Hesychia School of Spiritual Direction in Tucson and now has an Apprentice Training Program — online, one-on-one, self-paced education, based on her popular book “Spiritual Direction 101: The Basics of Spiritual Guidance“.
Teresa is happy to hear from blog readers, so email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.