Be Still and Know

Lenten Reflection, Sunday, March 18, 2018

By: Sydna Street

When I was in the second grade the word, practice, made my heart sink. There, always on a beautiful sunny afternoon, I would hear, “Sydna, come inside and practice your music.” I would drag in with dread, of course, as I was picturing the upcoming spring recital.

Only in the last few years has the word practice become a positive word. All it took was a slight reframing of the word to turn me around. A soft voice of instruction, “remember, this is just practice.”

“It’s just practice, not a performance” … suddenly my shoulders softened, my thoughts stopped racing, my breath slowed and deepened.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu put it this way in The Book of Joy, “physical and spiritual practices are not ends in themselves. There is no spiritual competition. Practices reward and deepen through continued efforts. The more we practice, the more we benefit.”

The Brothers of SSJE have provided us with a Lenten offering, Meeting Jesus in the Gospel of John. The beautiful workbook and thoughtful meditations have offered me “practice time.” I call it “Be Still time.”

“Be still and know that I am God.” -Psalm 46:10

After listening to and reading the Brother’s message, it’s time to practice being still, to allow the body and mind to let go, to fast from words and be quiet, and I simply breathe. A favorite practice of mine is a simple breath prayer to be done while sitting or walking.

Simple Breath Prayer:

  • Breathe in deeply.
  • Breathe out as slowly as possible. Continue simply breathing and listening to your breath.
  • After several breaths you may add a word or a prayer, such as…
  • Breath in “Our Father” or a favorite name of God.
  • Breath out “Hallowed be thy name” or a favorite phrase.
  • Or breathe in, “breathe in me,” and breathe out, “breath of God” or any favorite word or phrase will do.
  • Continue simply breathing and listening to your breath.

Remember, it’s just practice!