Exercise: Slowing Down to Experience God

Reflection from St. Theophan the Recluse The Martin Institute Part 11 of 20

Everywhere and always God is with us, near to us and in us. But we are not always with Him, since we do not remember Him; and because we do not remember Him we allow ourselves many things which we would not permit if we did remember. Take upon yourself this task–to make a habit of such recollection. Make yourself a rule always to be with the Lord, keeping your mind in your heart, and do not let your thoughts wander; as often as they stray, turn them back again and keep them at home in the closet of your heart, and delight in converse with the Lord.

The following exercise can help you become more deeply aware of the reality of God’s omnipresence and to foster communication with Him. You may wish to read it through several times before going through it mentally. Or you may wish to read it one sentence at a time and then allow time to experience what is suggested.

  • Close your eyes and practice the awareness of body sensations for a while.
  • Slowly become more aware of your breathing by focusing first on the movements of your diaphragm and then through the alternating sensations of coolness and warmth (at the tips of your nostrils) as you breathe in and out.
  • Reflect now that the air you are breathing in is charged with the power and presence of God. Think of the air that surrounds you as an immense ocean that is heavily colored with God’s being. Consider that as you are drawing air into your lungs you are drawing God into the center of your body.
  • Be aware that you are breathing in the power and presence of God each time you breathe in. Stay with the awareness for a while.
  • Then, imagine that you are breathing out all of your impurities, your fears, resentments, self-sufficiency, and anger.

Follow this with a heart-to-heart conversation with God. Talk about whatever comes to your mind, your hopes, fears, doubts and deepest desires. And then for at least a few moments, listen, hushed and still. What do you “hear” being said to you.

Listen to all parts in this Practicing the Presence series