I grew up as a Catholic girl in dear old St. Martin, a parochial school in Chicago’s Englewood. Each morning started with Mass, which lasted at least 45 minutes. Throughout the service, we had to kneel and stand, and if that wasn’t bad enough, we could not fidget during service. The nuns would give you the dagger-eye that would condemn you to hell for scratching an itch. Sister G. was the worst. Beyond the eye, she would give a “Be Still!” and you knew you dare not move an inch. I was like, “Uh uh, you will never catch me; I don’t want the eye or get my ear pulled.” (Y’all, I initialed her name, ’cause I’m still scared). I was pretty religious as a kid, but as I matured, I was done with nuns. What?!!
My spiritual evolution took me to the ancient practice of meditation. Back in the day, I used to go to how-to –meditate workshops. I thought I had to assume Zen proportions, but y’all already know I could not sit on the floor and fold my legs for that long. Sister G.’s ominous whisper, “Be still!” rescued me. Her scold was transformed by an invitation to “Be still and know I am God,” Psalm 46:10. The precursor to meditation, the Stillness would allow me to surrender to gifts of – clarity/awareness, guidance, and peace. No matter what the craziness I am SAFE.
I won’t get into all the illustrations given in my book, Be S.A.F.E.(StillAwareFaithfulExcellent). However, I do want to tell you that being still for meditation has been an essential practice within my life. Our country is in a “Trump Pandemic”* and essential unrest to heal systemic racism. Personally, I got a family dead in the heat of protest every day. Their mama takes time each day to give thanks, affirmatively pray, and to be still for meditation. There are numerous types of meditations, but this is my daily recipe:
Some meditative music is nice, birds singing, maybe even the sound of coffee percolating or the humming of a washing machine may be background sounds to Stillness. Some meditations are guided with words. And there is the sound of silence, which always invokes serenity. My point is that the quietness is within you. You set the intention to become still and…
When I can, I’m gon‘ sit in a relaxed position. Unlike my grandson, Christian, (pictured), I need a chair. No telling how long a session might last. These days, I don’t always sit in a quiet place. Sometimes I may walk in the park or garden. I am flexible in meditation, yielding to what suits my spirit. The conventional is not always my norm, but I started this practice with a comfortable seat. I sit with my back against the chair, my feet apart and on the floor, and my hands on my thighs with my hands open. The main objective is to allow yourself to relax and…
The breath plays an essential part in becoming still. Heck, you gotta do it anyway, so breathe deeply; become aware, pay attention to your breathing to aid you in relaxing to become still for meditation.
I usually close my eyes and start with a vision of a lotus flower floating on the sea and think, “Peace be still.” Some folks would not initiate Stillness without meditating on a Bible verse or chanting. Some need nothing but their breathing. Have at it; choose what facilitates your focus, as you relax into stillness and…
What happens during meditation?
You know we always got to be doing something, but meditation dictates taking time to let go of your stuff. This is an example of what usually happens to me: I’m visualizing, consciously breathing, and I become still when all of a sudden I start thinking, “Let me see…I gotta tend to Bama, Mile’s dog…I hope the protesters wear their masks…Should I go out, with Corona?” It’s called mind chatter and it is normal. What do I do? I simply call back my breath and resume my meditation, and I do not beat myself up for not being able to stay focused. When I first started this practice, I was doing good to last for two minutes. That’s OK. Nobody has a time clock. This practice is for you, your personal practice. So, what to expect?
I don’t know; you will have your own experience. If praying is talking to God, meditation is listening. I used to hear a small voice inside me that I recognized as my Higher Power (HP). Today, I may not hear anything during my meditation. All I know is that because I take the time to do it, throughout the day I am made aware of what I am experiencing; there are no more coincidences. I have a sense of clarity that will offer guidance, not only to me but sometimes to those that need my experience and hope. My Higher Power is working for me and may even speak through you! I recognize that HP works with or without Stillness, but I am aware of the work – no coincidences, only understanding that God’s/HP’s Will is at hand.
Y’all, I have been through sicknesses, deaths, all kinds of crises. I can tell you this practice of meditation has been and is still responsible for sustaining creativity, caregiving, counseling I have done, or any sense of sanity I have had throughout tumultuous experiences. My practice allows me to affirm Peace be Still. These days, with folks threatening my daughter, how else can I sustain my peace? What?!!
I do have a nightstand e-book, Be S.A.F.E. about the Stillness/meditation on Amazon Kindle. I’ll just say that my husband was fighting cancer during the time I wrote it. I had to find my true self, so I stopped dropped, and rolled into my daily practice of meditation. I hope it will help some of you who may be going through some challenges. Unfortunately, during these times, that would be all of us. I’m just sayin’.
We all have the mission to stay centered during any chaos. Maybe we emote, but at the end of the day, we must recognize the Creator/God/Higher Power/Jah, etc. is within and around us embracing and protecting us. No matter what, we think, Divine Will is working. Remember,
“it’s all good/ love/God – Victorine
My next blog installment will be In Living Color. Don’t miss it!
*Thank you, Mr. K.
© 2020 Camp Goldston L.L.C. – All Rights Reserved
Don’t forget to COMMENT and SUBSCRIBE!
Author: Be S.A.F.E., StillAware, Faithful, Excellent, now available on Kindle Amazon as an e-book.
Don’t forget to check out Garden Spices Magazine, Celebrating our differences!