By Beth A. Richardson
“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin.”
Being present may be one of the most powerful practices that we can engage in the world today. When we are in the present moment, our attention is here—the place where we are standing right now. We can listen deeply to the person with whom we are talking. We can interact fully with the community that surrounds us at work, at home, or in the world as we move through it. We are able to see through “the eyes of the present” all things—large and small—that make up our lives. If we are truly in the present moment, we are open to the movement of the Holy One. We become a channel for the Spirit’s promptings in us.
When we are present, we are able to watch for the ways that multitasking takes us away from the present moment. We often find that it is not possible for us to be present with another person or with ourselves when we are also in a second or third conversation on our electronic devices. Our brains were not created to multitask. Studies have indicated that when we are doing more than one thing at a time, we are actually switching quickly between tasks rather than doing two (or more) tasks at once.
Use this exercise to ground yourself in the present moment. Try the exercise several times a day this week for at least five minutes. Once you have become more familiar with the exercise, you will be able to run through the steps quickly in your mind whenever you are needing to bring yourself back to the present moment.
If you have more time for this exercise, enter into a time of prayer, silent or vocal. Make a list of the things for which you are grateful. Or spend some time journaling in words or images.
Return to this grounding exercise throughout your day. Practice being present in a conversation with another person. Step outside and ground yourself in God’s creation. At the end of your day, practice being in the present moment and offer in prayer the places during your day where you saw God’s presence in people or situations.
From Walking in the Wilderness: Seeking God During Lent. Copyright © 2020 by Beth A. Richardson. Published by Upper Room Books.
I could not have found The Upper Room Moments of Prayer (on Facebook Live) sooner. For it is during these moments of centering spiritual practices, meditating on the words of scripture, praying with and for the world, that I find moments of transcendence, hear whispers of peace and hope, see glimpses of truth and justice, behold visions of love and beauty amid all the stark realities that are around me.”