Quieting the Mind for Silent Meditation

On my way to lead the 7:30am contemplative prayer service at the last weekend retreat, I snapped this photo of the chapel. I loved the light, and the way it hit the door. There was something about the moment, the quiet, the long shadows, that reminded me of an early morning walk I once took in Jerusalem.

Our theme for the weekend was “Finding God and Oneself in the the Digital Age,” and admittedly I felt funny carrying my iPhone with me. I wanted to time the contemplative prayer / meditation I was leading. The first time anyone does a silent meditation, it’s good to start with just a few minutes. Quieting one’s mind is a daunting task in itself, and even moments can seem like an eternity.

My little group walked up the stairs, up to the private chapel usually used by the friars. It seemed like an honor to be in the space, up above the kitchen. We sat quietly, and I led them through the practice of silent meditation. I thought about the many men who had sat here in communion, every morning, to spend time with God.

Clear your mind, pushing aside every thought.
If a new thought enters, acknowledge it, and visualize pushing it from the left to the right, sweeping it away. Welcome it, thank it for it’s presence, and sweep it away.

Our group made it through the whole five minutes easily. I wished I had more time to keep meditating, but below us where the sounds of breakfast, and the smell of coffee. It was time to go, continue with our retreat, and get swept back up in the schedule of the day.