Silence Within Us
The Mind and Heart Paths
The WeSpace Co-Meditation/Prayer Time has three segments. The first is called Silence within us and is a fifteen-minute silent meditation where we take Jesus rather literally when he said, “When you pray, go into your closet and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret (Matt 6:6).” We not only go into an outer closet, free of TV, cell phones, and people who want to talk, but we also go into our inner closet.
This is where we can acknowledge the presence of God as we focus on resting in the deepest state of consciousness available to us. The deeper the state of consciousness, the more transcendent our experience of God-Beyond-Us as Infinite Being, Infinite Consciousness. Incredibly, we also at the same time, experience this God-Beyond-Us as God-Being-Us deep within as our core identity.
We are all at different places and experiences in the practice of meditation, from beginner to advanced. The eventual goal here is both to relate to the holy presences and guidance in the awakened subtle realm of form, and to rest in and as God deep within us in the causal transcendent realms of formlessness. This latter state of consciousness is also called by many other names such as the True Self, Oversoul, and divine essence.
Mind Path and Heart Path
We can broadly divide the many forms of meditation into mind paths and heart paths with some overlapping.
The mind path tends to focus on letting thoughts pass by without following them and/or asking self-inquiry questions such as “Who am I?” The most common path offered on meditation today through books, articles, and teachers is usually a version of the mind path.
To follow this path, you can use such forms as Centering Prayer or Self-Inquiry. The hundreds of different meditation techniques tend to lead to similar experiences which are then interpreted with different labels and worldviews.
For the heart path, here is one method we recommend that is especially designed as a Three Faces of God devotional practice — Heart-Sourced meditation and prayer.
Heart-Sourced meditation and prayer.
The heart path of love and devotion is very natural to Jesus and Christianity. It is also found in the Eastern devotional tradition of bhakti yoga and Sufi mysticism. Here it is in brief form:
1. Get away from the distractions of television, phones, sounds systems, and people who want to talk. Jesus put it as “Go into your closet to pray.”
2. Acknowledge the presence of God in whatever way you find most available to you, such as “Thank you God/Jesus for always being here.”
3. Breathe in and out of your heart space, moving your attention to your heart. Remember that in the Bible the word for both divine and human “spirit” (rûach/pneuma) also means breath and life-force. You can think of this as “God breathing” — breathing in God and/or God breathing on you.
You may want to move down from your head to your heart by placing your hand on your heart, or even tapping your fingers slowly down from your head to your heart. This is not thinking “about” your heart. It is being in your heart space and viewing the world from there.
4. Activate your heart space by thinking of someone you love.
Or you can say to God or Jesus, “I love you” when breathing out. Then when breathing in hear God or Jesus saying to you, “I love you.” Do this until your heart warms and you find that you have dropped down from your head to your heart.
At times your heart may begin to release long-stored feelings, memories, wishes, fears, and dreams. Welcome whatever arises, allowing it to speak and treating it gently with loving attention. Then let the past go for this moment, easily and comfortably as you return to the now — the present moment filled with heart-sourced love.
Eventually, when you move from your head into your heart space, your mind will be empty, and your heart will be full. You reach the goal of both paths! You will feel the divine warmth, gratitude, love, and bliss radiating from your deep heart center. This is where you can experience your spirit and God’s spirit already being One.
Next week we’ll explore a lesser known way: The Gut Path