inner stillness: dwell in your deep heart | prayer
stand with reverence before God,
with the mind in the heart,
and strive toward him with longing.”
—saint theophan the recluse
you are the attendant to your own soul.
to gain the inner stillness that leads to depth of prayer
you must prepare the right conditions.
inner stillness does not exist in a void.
focused prayer centers our mind on God
allows our deep heart to expand.
slowing the pace can help your concentration.
a small movement may be of service
raising hands, lowering head, slowing breath
or simply pause, connect, then continue.
distracting thoughts will attempt to enter your mind.
do not worry about this, also do not engage them.
do not punish yourself, but simply move forward.
these thoughts are just chattering sparrows
do not let them land in your branches
but dismiss them, redouble your efforts
and gently draw your mind into your heart again and again.
while we are not seeking emotional experience
or forming visual images in our minds
the presence of God is often palpable in the stillness.
pierce your own heart with focused love for God
until it begins to ache, feeling His presence.
this grace-filled state may bring a sense of
physical warmth, heart swelling, or tears.
these brief moments are a gift of grace God may offer
to the deeply seeking soul, if and when the conditions are ripe.
Excerpted from Jennifer Anna Rich's Prayer Spa: Ancient Treatments for the Modern Soul.