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Is there Quiet and Peace in unavoidable noise

IS THERE JOY IN INNER QUIET

By Vicky M. Krause

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When I was a young girl of nineteen, I met an elderly couple at church.  Evelyn – Mrs, Douman was confined to a wheelchair and her husband Bill cared for her with the help of their daughter who was a missionary nurse on sabbatical back from Papa New Guinea.  They needed help with housekeeping a couple times a week I would go to their place, do simple chores and spend a couple hours doing crafts with Evelyn.

One of the first things I was aware of when I entered their home, was a peace and quiet.  Over the years I have wondered about what I experienced in their home.  To me it was almost tangible.   After a while and after learning about their lives, I attributed it to the fact that they were religious and prayerful people.

Even as they entered the twilight years of their lives, a quiet peace radiated through them and seemed to affect even the atmosphere in their home.

The Dictionary noun for quiet is absence of noise.  I’ve known the opposite of this where I’ve walked into a room or place and despite the absence of noise, the air is heavy but I’m not sure of what.    Maybe the strong contrast was heightened in me because I had experienced and felt a lot of conflict and chaos in my childhood home and for the first time I experienced something different while in the Douman’s home.

CAN I FIND THE TIME??

Over this last week I have struggled to find the time to do Centering Meditation.  Does this sound familiar to you?  Am I the only one who struggles?    I find If I don’t do Centering Meditation within the first couple of hours of my day, my window of opportunity is usually gone.   A couple times during the last week and at odd times in the afternoon, I have retreated to a comfy chair in the spare bedroom but it’s been a conscious decision to take myself away from my daytime activity.  I can tell you, it was not easy, yet it was only for twenty minutes.  Getting to it first thing in the morning is so much easier.

Once I was settled in my chair, I had to contend with the rapid fired wanderings of my mind.  I found myself constantly checking the timer because I was sure that it was broken and I had been there for over an hour when in fact, it was only nine minutes.

CAN I FIND THE CALM?

 

At times I have felt like I was strip-mining for a nugget of wisdom, truth or anything that would make it easier.

I read a little, sometimes from Thomas Keating- Trappist Monk author of ‘Open Mind Open Heart’.  At other times I read my favorite devotional commentaries and a few scriptures from my bible.

CAN I FIND THE PLACE.

It helps if I set up conditions that are conducive to CM, whether that is choosing a quiet time of day without the distractions of phones, TVs etc.  For some the only place might be in the bathtub.  The point is that we each need to find a time and place that works.

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Thomas Keating describes a situation where a family had learnt to block out unavoidable noises and had not only tolerated but accepted the situation.

He relates a story of a family he visited who lived next to the EL train track in New York before it was pulled down.  As he sat there, the train went by.  It sounded like the train was coming through their house. The family would just stop the conversation until the train went by and then when it was past, they would continue the conversation like it was normal.

CAN MY MIND DEFEAT THE DISTRACTIONS?

Keating compares the train story to the mumbling and internal noise in our heads.  Obviously most of us don’t live next to a busy train track.  At this point, some might say, this is not for me and give up and yet if they would stay a little longer with CM, and give it a little more time.    CM sets up the habitual practice to gradually turn to the silence.  At first you might not be aware how much thoughts and nonsense are actually swirling in your head and it might even be a little scary.

Sitting in the quiet after Centering Meditation one morning,  that long ago memory of the Bill and Evelyn Douman from New Zealand came back to me.  At that moment I had an Ahaa moment and a knowing that I too could experience that quiet and peace.

I am reminded that one of the fruits of the spirit is peace and Centering Meditation directs us to silence and peace.

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NEW BLOG! Is your thinking stinking. You might try Centering Meditation

 

My name is Vicky. Welcome to my new blog on Centering Meditation.  My inspiration is to relate this blog to Centering Meditation and veterans and veterans who suffer or who have suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Military Sexual Trauma (MST)and or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) as well as other war related disorders. Any civilians who have been affected by these melodies are encouraged to read along as well.

 

What is Centering Meditation?  It is sitting quietly in silence. If you are new to Centering Meditation, then starting with a few minutes daily and gradually increasing the time to spend in silence. I personally do Centering on a daily basis, yet others might start with once a week, then increase the practice over time.

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A fine visual example of Centering Meditation comes from ‘Open Mind, Open Heart’ by Thomas Keating. Keating says to visualize a wide river.  On the river is an assortment of boats and flotsam of different shapes and sizes.  There are many people sitting and standing, talking and doing various activities on the boats.  The flotsam includes furniture and other objects floating gently down the river. If you can imagine that the objects on the river are the day to day situations, experiences and places in our lives.  The river which is carrying us along is often ignored or only given a casual glance – just enough so we don’t get stuck on a sandbar or hit hidden rocks or debris. Yet the river is a constant immense reality and always the same.  It is always murmuring of her discoveries if only we will listen.  Centering Meditation offers to create an awareness of the interior space beneath the hub bub of what’s happening in life.

How do you do Centering Meditation?

  • Find a quiet place where you won’t be distracted or disturbed.
  • Sit comfortably with eyes shut or if that doesn’t work, focus on an object in the room
  • Have a bell or watch handy so you can keep time.  There are free apps on meditation bells that are easy to download, otherwise a watch or clock will be sufficient.
  • Next chose a sacred word or phrase. There are a number of sources to help select your chosen word or phrase.
  • As the mind wonders and you have other thoughts crowding in, then slowly bring your thoughts back to the sacred word or phrase.

The intention of Centering Meditation is to develop a deep sense of awareness first to our interior silence even if it is only for a number of minutes daily.  The first step to centering is the intention to make the effort.  As a friend mentioned to me the other day as we discussed meditation, she said that her partner David ‘created space’ for meditation.  I was impressed with that saying and liked the idea that we create space in our often busy schedule.  This thought had me thinking that I can create space for centering, as well as the idea to ‘create space’ for other writing projects, my businesses, and attention to my family and friends.  It could even be applied to physical exercise and other areas of life that we choose and are passionate about.  I can go on and on and burrow into the subject but will leave it there for now.  There will be many more thoughts and observations that I want to share as we sojourn along the winding path of centering.

Future posts will cover such questions as:

  • How does Centering heal or enhance the healing of PTSD, MST of TBI
  • Is Centering Meditation faith driven, or solely a process, or both faith and a process?
  • What does it look like?
  • How does it compare to other meditations?

There are a slew of other questions. It’s an exciting journey for me as I’ve practiced Centering for over five years.

I can honestly say that you might not see any outward signs that I have changed so much.  One thing I can say is that I have a rich source of internal life, a peace and strength derived from my times of centering, coupled with my reading of scripture and prayer.  As I have mentioned at a workshop I attended last year, centering becomes a “lifestyle.”  Not that everything is peaches and cream, far from it because normal ups and downs happens in my household as it does in everybody else’s.   But there is a source, ‘the river’ which we give attention to, even if it’s for a short time, that becomes the tangible and constant source.  Is Centering Meditation effective for the traumas of life and war?  A number of studies say yes.  That’s a subject for the future.

 

So welcome to ‘VNRC Centering Meditative’ blog!  Please feel free to comment and join in the conversation.  I do have the right to approve any comments before allowing them to be published so please be respectful and stay on the subject with the spirit of curiosity and openness to learn.  My intention is to have many more people join with me and the community of those who do Centering Meditation.

Businesswoman meditating with eyes closed

www.vpaus.com

www.iacityemergencyplumber.com

www.treeservicesiacity.com

www.treeserviceskalamunda.com.au