Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Taking time for quiet and reflection - a note to students

Announcing a new Faculty Resident Event: A time of quiet and reflection - Faculty Resident’s Apartment, Anderson 101, 7:00-7:30 AM, Wednesday mornings, beginning tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Most mornings each week, I seek to set aside time for quiet and reflection. This practice has roots in many traditions - Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Bahai, Christianity, Runi, and including traditions that are not “spiritual” in any conventional sense. Remaining quiet and reflecting for thirty or minutes or more, “emptying ones mind” as some Buddhists say, sounds as if it might be easy. I have not found it to be so, but I have found it to be valuable.

I thought it might make a contribution to share this practice each Wednesday morning, from 7:00 to 7:30, with any who might be interested. For about fifteen minutes, we will take time for silence, perhaps being conscious of our own breathing - “breathing in - breathing out.” For the last fifteen minutes of our time together, there will an opportunity for sharing thoughts, leadings and, for those for whom this is part of their practice, prayers. When others are sharing, we will listen fully and compassionately, without seeking to evaluate or judge.

We will conclude with a prayer attributed to the 12th and 13th century friar and preacher, Giovani Francesco di Bernadrone, known as St. Francis of Assisi.

St. Francis is venerated by Roman Catholic Christians as the patron saint of animals and the environment. His example has also inspired many who are not Roman Catholics or Christians, for followers of any faith tradition at all. Interestingly, it is reported (by Wikipedia) that in 1219, St. Francis traveled to Egypt, where crusaders were besieging the city of Damietta and reconciled with the Muslim Sultan.

The “St. Francis prayer” is a personal favorite of mine:

O’ Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love.

Where there is injury, pardon.

Where there is doubt, faith.

Where there is despair, hope.

Where there is darkness, light.

Where there is sadness, joy.

O’ Divine Master,

Let me seek not so much to be understood as to understand,

To be consoled as to console,

To be loved as to love.

For it is in giving we receive

Pardoning that we are pardoned,

In the death of self, that we are born to eternal life.

Following this, we will acknowledge each other using the South Asian gesture of respect and acceptance, Namaste. At 7:30, for any that wish to remain for a few minutes, there will be tea and coffee.



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