Meditation for stillness

I spent today at a retreat centre in silence and stillness. Unusually for me, I found it really difficult to stop my mind flitting around all over the place and bring it back to the present. In the end I decided to write down the distractions, and in so doing I found I made use of them to lead me into a place of being present to the present moment, and the inner quiet soon followed. Here is what I wrote:

Make me aware of now,
For my mind is full of then.
Then, when I erred and grieved You;
Then, when I doubted You;
Then, when You reassured me of my acceptance;
Then, when I was wronged and You taught me to forgive.

Make me aware of now,
For my mind is full of then.
Then, when I shall accomplish my dreams;
Then, when my words will shed Your light on someone else’s path;
Then, when I will cease to struggle with these besetting sins;
Then, when I will banish all distractions and hold You in my gaze.

Make me aware of now,
For my mind is full of then.
Then, when I will know the things I now try to believe;
Then, when I will feel Your love as truly as I feel my beating heart;
Then, when I will fix my eyes on You and learn never to turn away;
Then, when the anguish of failure will cease to trouble my heart.

Make me aware of now,
For my mind is full of then.
Now, when the fly is blundering against the window pane, ignorant of glass;
Now, when the blackbird in the garden is proudly calling over and over his full-throated song;
Now when the curling thread of steam from my cup brings the aroma of coffee to my senses;
Now, when the scratch of this pen on this paper marks the time signature of my thoughts;
Now, when the rise and fall of my chest settles into the slow contentment of relaxation.

Make me aware of now,
For my mind is letting go of then.
Now, when the rigidity of this chair holds my reclining body;
Now, when the radiation from this electric heater blows the chill from my feet;
Now, when the hymn book open on my Bible is no longer needed to remind me who You are;
Now, when the stillness of the tall trees and the movement of the bushes illustrate the differing air currents.

Make me aware of now,
For my soul is losing interest in then.
Now, when the painted river in its frame above me speaks Your name – Spirit;
Now, when the distant hillside illustrates Your nature – Rock;
Now, when these soft cushions cradle me the way You do – Mother;
Now, when these four walls cast round me a solid protection like Yours – Father;
Now, when the air I breathe preserves my life as You do – Saviour;
Now, when the clamour dies away and I begin to hear the softest of whispers;
Now – speak, Lord; Your servant is listening.

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