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I hosted a time of healing for the monks a couple of weeks ago. I still feel like it’s very brave of me to do things like this. Even though I’ve been doing them off and on for a couple of years now. Even though they are usually well received. I have to gather all my energy and concentration to walk people through this kind of meditative work without feeling (and sounding) like a flibbertigibbet. (Which is actually what I am best at, flibberdigibbeting.) At any rate, I thought I’d post the basic outline of what I did, in case it appeals to anyone else out there.
Note: I used special “facial massage stones” which I paid a ridiculous amount for at a migraine-inducing essential oil and massage supply shop. What a scam! Just find some small flat stones in your local river-ish type place, wash them, line your crock pot with a few washcloths, pour in some water, and heat away. Do test them before you hand them out so no one gets burned.
Get in a comfortable position, sitting of lying down. If you are seated, let your spine be grounded and centered. You can do this by aligning your sitting bones with the earth, shifting back and forth slightly to find your most grounded seat, and then allowing your weight to sink in to the earth. If you are lying down, let your body sink into the ground, allowing the earth to support your head and shoulders, your upper back, your lower back, your hips, your legs, your ankles, your feet, your arms, and your wrists.
Let you shoulders drop away from your ears. Relax your wrists by giving them permission to sink into their resting place. Drop your jaw slightly and wiggle it back and forth. Swallow to relax your throat. Let your eyes be soft in their sockets.
Now, if you are seated let the crown of your head float up lightly towards the sky, as if your cranium was slightly filled with helium.
If you are lying down, let your neck be long and soft and gently extended.
Now allow yourself to breathe at a natural fullness – not necessarily your deepest breath, but beyond your unattended shallow breath. Breathe in through your nose, and out through your mouth, making a soft “ha” sound as you exhale.
As you continue, try to deepen your breath slightly, lengthening your exhale a few beats longer than your inhale. You might count the number of beats it takes for you to inhale, then count again on your exhale, exhaling two beat more than your inhale.
Continue this deeper breath for a few more cycles. If you attention wanders away from your breath, just gently invite it to come back. It might help if you imagine the breath coming in and out of your body like waves at the shore, following the path of the wave in, and out of your body. Or you might want to ascribe a color to your breath, imaging a cool blue light coming in with your inhale, exhaling a warm red light on your exhale.
The Invocation (read over the course of a few breath cycles)
Light of the World, light that is in the world, we welcome you to this space. We welcome the healing power you have embedded in the earth and in our bodies. We welcome the healing history of Jesus. We welcome the healing presence of Spirit. We welcome the healing power of God.”
Meditative Body Scan
We’ll begin now to scan our bodies for any places of pain or discomfort—not to rectify or problem-solve by our own power or will, but simply to acknowledge and observe our living reality.
With your mind’s eye or your heart’s awareness, scan your body for places of pain beginning with your feet and your legs; your torso and chest; your arms and your shoulders; you upper back and lower back; your neck, head and face; your scalp, your finger tips, and your toes.
Wherever you find pain of any kind—emotional or physical—pause and let your awareness rest with that reality. Then ask your self and the spirit within you,
Does your pain have a shape?
Does your pain have a texture?
Does your pain have scent?
Is there an emotional component to a physical pain?
Is there a physical component to your emotional pain?
Without trying to problem solve or to find a solution to your pain, let your attention rest on its shape, texture, color, and scent.
(At this point I walked around the room touching people’s hands and placing the warm rocks in their palms)
Now, with your mind’s eye or your heart’s awareness, create a space like a bubble around your pain. Not to create more space in which your pain can expand, but to create a space where healing can arrive. Invite light to rush around this pain, bringing healing. Envision God’s healing energy being held by the heat in these stones, and invite that healing energy to travel to your place of pain, bringing warmth and restoration into the space you have created.
Hold on to these stones and receive their heat as a symbol of the light, love, and power that is available to you for healing, that comes to you unbidden or undrawn—just as the heat sinks into your palms without any effort or requirement on your part. Turn these stones over in your palms as I read these words several times to you.
(I read this four times, which is our standard lectio divina practice.)
A message from the high and towering God, who lives in Eternity, whose name is Holy.
“I live in the high and holy places, but also with the low-spirited,
And what I do is, I put new spirit in them,
I get them up and on their feet again.
Peace to the far-off, pace to the near-at-hand,” says God—“and yes, I will heal them.”
Is 57 (abridged)
May God bless you and keep you
May God make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you.
May God lift up her face towards you, and give you her kiss of peace.
In the name of the God who birthed and created you,
The Son who is your brother and friend,
And the Holy Spirit, she who is your guide.
Amen, go in peace.