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Meditation for Distress, Disease, or Pain

by Robert Corin Morris

GOD'S RESURRECTION PROMISE IN CHRIST is shalom -- active, bountiful goodness. "Shalom I give you, not as the ordinary world gives it" (John 14:27, paraphrase). Such bountiful goodness can flow around, through, and under any situation.

Living with disease, difficulty, or distress can sometimes be as important as curing it. Often just learning to live with the difficulty constitutes the first stage in a cure! However experienced -- as light, as peace, as minor relaxation in the midst of pain, as comfort, as assurance, or as growing health -- shalom comes from the Spirit itself, the Source of all goodness. A meditation such as the following one can open flesh, soul, and spirit to the Spirit's grace, which is already more available than we realize.

  1. Let the body be as comfortable as possible, whether you are standing, sitting, or lying down. Close your eyes.
  2. Spend a few minutes "following the breath," that is, consciously turning your attention to the moment-by-moment inflow and outflow of air through nostrils or mouth. The simple act of focusing on only one thing at a time immediately invites a deeper "relaxation response" from your body, whether you feel it consciously or not. If conscious awareness of the breath makes you nervous, then use a short prayer phrase, like "Lord, have mercy" or "God is good," repeated affirmatively over and over.
  3. Imagine that a gentle, strong light surrounds you, as if the air around you were a cloud of light. Imagine the light as any color you wish, so long as it carries positive and supportive associations. Remember that "God is Light" and that this imagined light can be a symbol and sacrament of that reality.
  4. Slowly let the light begin to pervade your entire being. Gently, soothingly, your whole physical self and field of consciousness are suffused with this healing light. You may even start to breathe it in. If you are praying about a situation, imagine the light suffusing that situation and all the people in it.
  5. Let the light find the hurting and needy places by allowing your imagination to flow freely. What happens may surprise you. Don't expect every ache and pain to go away. But let the Light have its way with you for a while. "Marinate" yourself in God's goodness. Then, with a long slow breath, give thanks for whatever good you have noted.

Excerpted from pages 24-25 of Wrestling with Grace: A Spirituality for the Rough Edges of Daily Life by Robert Corin Morris. Copyright © 2003 by Robert Corin Morris. Published by Upper Room Books. Used with permission.

 

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