The rather awesome Glennon Doyle Melton over at Momastery wrote on Facebook earlier: “Just got another email about how my participation in meditation is Un-Christian.”
It reminded me, since doing less yoga and more G&J stuff, I have meditated less and prayed more, probably because I needed to wrestle with prayer as it was so new to me, whilst meditation, thanks to my yoga teacher-training, was something I had happily sat with for years.
Whilst I don’t find the two mutually exclusive, it did make me wonder. I have prayed, slanged, chattered and even used God as a Father Christmas-like shopping list once or twice, but, since being in this new relationship, have I ever just sat with Him?
The answer was clear: No.
And yet I want to have the sort of relationship where I can sit with Him and be. Like those closest friends where you sit in companionable silence. Why had I neglected that part of it?
I realised I has been defining prayer as two-way dialogue and, given God has some fairly fabulous ways of replying to me, deriving a great deal of enjoyment from it.
Yet on the back of His yellow post it note about me being the only opponent in my perceived cage fights with Him, it belatedly struck me that perhaps all God wants me to do is just shut up for a minute.
It reminded me of an interview with Mother Theresa that Philip Yancy refers to in his book on Prayer.
An interviewer asked: “When you pray, what do you say to God?”
Mother Teresa said “I don’t talk, I simply listen.”
The interviewer then asked, “Ah, then what is it that God says to you?”
Mother Teresa said, “He doesn’t talk. He also simply listens.”
There was a long silence.
Then Mother Teresa said: “If you can’t understand the meaning of what I’ve just said, I’m sorry but there’s no way I can explain it any better.”
So today, at 4.45am, as my brain bounded awake, I just shut up. Rather than my usual morning prayer approach (Hi, thanks, wow) I accessed the muscle memory of yoga meditation, breathed in, breathed out and quietly said, “Hey, I’m here and I’m shutting up.”
It became unlike any other meditation I had attempted before. Then I would breathe through being non-attached and try to let the to do lists of life dart past without engaging with them. This time, waiting for God, was the fastest, easiest, closest, most awe-full experience.
I slid down a rabbit hole in my soul at light speed, yet without pace. An explosion of cool calmness. Huge vistas focused on one tiny pinpoint. I listened. God listened. No-one spoke. Just lying on a bench in a garden. Companionably. And (see if you can spot the parallel here) it was very good. I will go back there and shut up tomorrow.