“Stop looking and…begin seeing! Because looking means that you already have something in mind for your eye to find; you’ve set out in search of your desired object and closed off everything else presenting itself along the way. But seeing is being open and receptive to what comes to the eye.”Thomas Merton
S.Y.N.C. with God
I invite you to try a different way of praying, or ‘being with’ God. This can be done, either with a photograph or picture that you are drawn to, below or your own, or in your garden and you can take as much or as little time as you have with it. Get yourself comfortable with something to focus on and follow the four steps below:
- STILLNESS: Begin by sitting quietly and still. Close your eyes for a moment and focus on your breathing. Breathe in the Holy Spirit and breathe out anything which causes you anxiety.
- YIELD: When you feel a sense of calm, of God’s peace, open your eyes and look at this photograph as a whole. Allow yourself to gaze on it, and get lost in it, yield to where God leads your attention.
- NOTICE: Notice how you feel, don’t try to change it, just notice it and bring it before God. Notice where your attention has been drawn, perhaps to a small detail, colour, pattern in the photograph, or perhaps your attention has been taken to something completely away from the photograph – that’s fine, go with it! Sometimes God uses an image as a springboard to something else. In conversation with God, listen to God, and own your feelings in those moments. Is there an invitation from God within this dialogue? If so, what is your response? Continue in conversation with God until there are no more words and a sense of stillness returns. Move back to your breathing – breathe in the Holy Spirit and breathe out anything that still worries you.
- CONTEMPLATE: When you feel ready open your eyes again and look over the photograph once more as a whole. Think about all that God has revealed as you continue to breathe in the Holy Spirit and breathe out gratitude for what has been. Is there anything else from God? Be still in these moments of Holy ground…
When you are ready end your time of prayer with these, or other familiar words:
Glory to God, Source of all Being, Eternal Word and Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now, and shall be forever. AMEN.
“[One] that looks on glass, on it may stay [their] eye; or if [they] pleaseth, through it pass, and then the heaven espy.”George Herbert