We have a Guest Author for our devotion this week, Heidi Green, who will be teaching with this devotion for Wed. Embodied Lent Journey
Scripture ~ “Consider the lilies, how they grow ; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.” Luke 12:27
Spiritual Focus ~ “Don’t worry. Be happy.” Bobby McFerrin, American folk-jazz vocalist
Breath Prayer ~ Christ be with me
The documentary film Beyond the Fear of Singing describes the work of a gifted music teacher working with traumatized former child-soldiers in Africa. Teaching the boys to sing again helped them recover their lost childhood. Singing helped them heal. Turns out singing, and other types of prolonged vocalization such as ujjayi breathing (sounding breath) and chanting, have been shown in medical studies to stimulate the part of the nervous system largely responsible for dampening the body’s fight, flight, or freeze response. In other words, science confirms what religious folks have known for centuries: singing and chanting calms us; it makes us happier.
And God wants us to be happy. Jesus admonishes his disciples, “Do not worry…can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your life”? And we all know what he said about lilies!
Loving and living like Jesus, setting aside our worries, letting go and letting God, is not always easy to do. How wonderful that God gave us these bodies, each equipped with our own unique voice. As we continue to explore the gift of meditation during Lent, we may want to explore the ancient contemplative practice of chanting. Many find that chanting, singing, or even humming, for a few minutes before silent meditation helps our busy brains slow down, making the silent meditation easier.
Here is part of a simple chant to try, attributed to St. Patrick, from a traditional Irish prayer called The Deer Cry. The tune doesn’t matter. Let your voice decide. Repeat several times and then begin your meditation in the silence that follows.
Christ be with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ within me
Christ below me, Christ above me, Christ be with me.
- In a seated easy pose, find a home base. This can be your breath, a drishti (focused gaze) or a sensation in your body.
- Practice equanimity. This means to accept thoughts without attaching to them. They are just there. Come back to your home base without judgement and an abundance of grace.
- Simply receive; there is no need to do anything.