Breath prayer for silence

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By Hall Green
Pondering Prayer

Hal Green

This breath prayer may seem at first a bit strange and difficult but I assure you it works. I invite you to breathe in and out something that we all need but most of us do not get enough of: silence. Breathe in silence and breathe out silence. While doing so, listen to the subtle sound of your breath, drawing in and out like soft waves along the shoreline of your consciousness. Let go of all thoughts as they arise; let them be to you like silent seagulls taking flight along the shore but not penetrating the water of your consciousness. Rather, become fully present to your breathing in, for its entire length, until it is time to breathe out. When you breathe out, rest in that gentle release of air, remaining in the silence of its passing.

The truth is, there is always silence at your center, just as there is always silence between the notes of a musical score, without which a melody cannot exist. The melodies of life require spaces between the notes, where silence can do its magical work.   

As you prepare for this breath prayer, meditate on one of my prayer reflections, titled “Silence.” It is built on Psalm 46:20: “Be still, and know that I am God!” As you read it, let the words bring you to silent mindfulness before God:

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“Only through silence may you at last settle down, to hear what cannot be spoken; which may be grasped only in silence.

Silence carries truth undisturbed by sound.

Silence renders you vulnerable to self and Other discovery.

Silence like sonar is able to scan the shapes of the hidden, seeking to be known, finally, fully, as what it is, without the coloration of language.

Silence expands time, transferring it into simple duration, unmasked, unmeasured, unsecured.

Silence opens you to the time between the seconds, to the depths unrealizable in the multitude of surface tracks sound seduces your attention towards.

You may attend to the hearing or to the feeling, but not to both at the same time.

Only in silence may you hear what you truly feel.

Only in silence may you sense the God who is sensing you.”         

Your soul is surprisingly deep, like a mostly unexplored inland sea. The deeper you go, the more silent becomes your inner being. It does not matter how much sound is going on around you or even within you. Your silent center still abides, as does God, awaiting your silence to sense God’s silent presence.

(Hal Green, Ph.D., is author of Pray This Way to Connect with God. You can contact him at drhalgreen@gmail.com.)


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