Sunday, July 10, 2016

Thank God It's Sunday Even if You've Lost Your Faith

What makes me write about the Lord on the net?
Heresy or Spiritual pride? 
I write because
I see how dark it can get,
and I also see-- yep, there God is again! --
God waiting,  on the other side.

Thinking  you have lost your faith is very much a mental ordeal. The very fact that you are thinking  you've lost your faith makes it a mental thing. 

So, what to do about that mind. Keep it busy thinking about things you're sure about.  If thinking you've lost your faith is coinciding with losing the ability to do much of anything at all, go to a brain doctor. Or do what a brain doctor told you to do once, that you've since quit doing.

No, I don't have any suggestions other than that for your mind. I don't have any more dogma for you to put in, especially since your mind is recoiling at the dogma it already has.

I do have a suggestion for something your spirit can do when you think you've lost  your faith. 

Your spirit, no longer having any thing in the mind it can hold on to, is just hanging there, wondering, now what do I do, if I even exist at all?

Yes, your spirit is just hanging there. Calm down.
You are a kite, and God is holding onto your string,  not the other way around.  
God is God, as God is, whether or not you believe, or what you believe about, God.

Don't  worry that I'm going to ask you do anything occult or heretical
Even though I learned how to meditate (praying by listening) while repeating a Sanskrit phrase, after a few weeks, I asked myself, "what about Jesus?" I'm not saying you can't use a Sanskrit mantra.  I'm just saying,  if you're already freaking out because you think you've committed the unpardonable sin, better to stay with with a prayer that feels safe.

You could do a lot worse than saying the Lord's prayer, or the 23rd Psalm, or the Shema, right? These three prayers are actually very generic, all three of them work for Jews, Christians, Muslims, or a common-or-garden-variety God-believer (or ex- any of the above)

The way you prevent meditating from becoming "vain repetition" is to think of sending these words as food into your spirit,  before your mind can snatch them away. You're not saying them to get God's attention. You're saying them to get your attention.

Sit down on a chair. Set the timer for five minutes, and close your eyes.

I've printed the prayers at the bottom of the page. If you don't know one by heart already,  you can peek.

Breathing. We can all do it! So we can all pray! Even if we've lost our faith!
THANK GOD IT'S SUNDAY! (hallelujah!)

Take one breath in while you're saying one phrase, (or after you've said it), 
and then exhale while you're saying the next phrase, or after you've said it.
You're chewing on that food, not snarfing it down! 
Experiment to find a rhythm and a way of breaking the prayer into phrases that works with how you feel most comfortable breathing.
Meditating will become more natural with practice.


(Inhale:) The Lord is my Shepherd 
(Exhale:) I shall not want 
(Inhale) He maketh me to lie down 
(Exhale) In green pastures...

The timer went off!
Can you set it for, maybe, 5 more minutes?
Just sit still and listen.
If you don't hear anything,
Just be grateful for the calm.

The timer went off again!
If a good idea came into your mind,
to write a letter, or call a friend, or clean up a mess, 
or any good thought that seems worth writing down,
Then, write it down,   
And move it up high
on today's to-do list  or on today's to-dwell-on list.
Keep doing this, every day. 
Don't give up if you miss a day, or a few. 
Get back up, and keep going.


 Psalm 23 The Shepherd's Psalm:
The Lord is my Shepherd;
I shall not want 
He maketh me
to lie down in green pastures:  
he leadeth me 
beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: 
he leadeth me
in the paths of righteousness 
for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through
the valley of the shadow of death, 
I will fear no evil: 
for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff 
they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me
in the presence of 
mine enemies: 
thou anointest my head 
with oil; my cup 
runneth over. 
Surely goodness and mercy 
shall follow me
all the days of my life: 
and I will dwell 
in the house of the Lord 
for ever.

The Lord's Prayer:
Our Father
Who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name
Thy Kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
On earth 
As it is in Heaven.
Give us this day 

Our daily bread
And forgive us our sins
As we forgive those
who sin against us
And lead us not
Into temptation
But deliver us
From evil
For thine
is the Kingdom
And the power 
and the glory
And forever. 

The Shema:
This is the most important:
‘Hear O Israel, 
the Lord our God
 is One Lord,  
and you shall love
the Lord your God
with all your heart,
and with all your soul,
and with all your mind,*
and with all your strength.   
The second is this: 
‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 
No other commandment
is greater than these.

*we're getting there. Don't worry about it now.

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