The Sacrament of the Present Moment

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Just a few concrete announcements. Our Brother Joshua, who has some oversight of the whole retreat ministry in its practical level, he asks that people put your linen in a wicker basket that's in the kitchen. That really facilitates things. And remember, you're invited to Eucharist today and to lunch, if you can make it. Artist Brother Mark did a lovely image of Brother Lawrence, and so here's your free prayer card as a memento of this retreat, if you want. It pictures Brother Lawrence as quite young. He's in the kitchen. You see all the pots and pans in the background. He's got his hand on his heart with all these rays coming out. The whole theme of the indwelling, the abiding of God. Then he's got some letters in his hand. His main writing was in the form of letters with the text,


Let us abide in the presence of God. So that's very close to celebrating the present moment. So there's all that. In these meditations, I've tried to explore the why of the sacrament of the present moment, looking a bit into the theology and how it's just healthy for us, and then some of the how of both. And we need theory and practice and they interact, really. If today we could open this up to general discussion, additions, difficulties, affirmations, whatever. I'd like to add just a couple of last things. First of all, to the why column, not so much theology, but again, the therapeutic. I noted the thesis of the psychiatrist, Gerald May, that there's this ongoing yearning within


us for love, with the capital L, for fulfillment, for understanding, all of that. And most of the time we don't acknowledge that, we kind of keep it repressed. But in the moment of the celebrating of the sacrament of the present moment, we do acknowledge and we give voice to this. Well, that's very healing, really. That's integrative of this deep unconscious yearning. So it's therapeutic in that sense. What I didn't mention, but I think it's also true, is if you go down to the absence level, our senses are very loyally giving us input about the present moment. I'm seeing things, I'm hearing things, I'm feeling things of the right here, right now. But if my head is 100 miles away, my imagination is off in the future, worrying about the budget,


or back in the past, angry about what so-and-so said to me or something, this can lead to a kind of an overload of what's coming into the poor brain. And if I'm constantly repressing just the basic information that my body is giving me about the here and the now, it's not good. So just to be here and to come back to this room and to notice the lights and the hum and the feel and all of that, that's very healing, kind of integrative. Just be here, be now. It's a relief to the system also. So that's why people like Gerald may very much propose and recommend this practice. Also just for our psychological healing. Regarding the how column, what we've done is looked at a series of places or persons


or things that usually recur in our daily lives, and how to meditate on them, claim them as sacramental, so that when we do encounter them regularly, there's more of a chance that we won't just rush through them, but we'll acknowledge them as here and now, sacramental moment. There's another approach that we didn't even have time for, and that's to just propose certain styles of living, just the basic slow down. Instead of rushing from here to the refectory, walk a little slower. That can be good. Instead of driving at 75 miles an hour, slow it down to maybe even 60 or 65 or 55. That also can be very restful. It allows the adrenaline rush to kind of dissipate, and it allows me to then catch some of what's going on as I journey on.


The whole area of leisure. I don't know if you know the English Catholic Magazine tablet. It's a lay Catholic magazine. It's outstanding. Well, they just had a whole series of articles on leisure, how difficult it is for us moderns to just open to leisure, real leisure, not a tightly programmed holiday with all kinds of, as they call them, leisure activities where I'm doing this, this, this, and this, and I come away from the holidays exhausted, you know, and I haven't really gotten my tennis game together and all the rest of it. I've got a sunburn, etc. But just really enjoy leisure. Be able to even waste time, to be bored, you know. It doesn't always have to be filled with exciting stuff. Just slow down. This during the holidays, certainly during retreat time,


all the more during work time, you know. Do I have to take on this commitment and then this other commitment, then this other commitment? Now, this isn't for everyone. Perhaps some people have too little to fill with their time, and we always search for that Benedictine balance. But at least for lots of Americans, it's the case of too much. We just pile one thing upon another upon another. We say yes to this and that and that. And that makes very difficult the being serenely open to the sacrament of the present. There's a very emphatic passage of Merton in his Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander. He's talking about how our culture is basically one of violence. It comes out of this basic inner violence. I'm distracted. I'm torn apart. And because of that, I project violence outside of me or I get entangled in violence. It might just be verbal violence or angry thoughts or whatever it is.


But part of it can be this overload. He writes, The rush and pressure of modern life is a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to violence. More than that, it is cooperation in violence. So very emphatically stated, but sometimes just thin down my up-to-do list a bit and enjoy the interim pauses and take what I have to do a little more calmly. And then there is that focus on the task within the task, as I think Richard Rohr puts it felicitously. That is, whatever I'm doing, I want to do that but not get totally absorbed in that.


And at the heart of the matter, hopefully I'm doing it with God and for God. And then that will give what I'm doing a greater depth, a greater fecundity, a greater fruitfulness. Jesus says, Come unto me, all you who are weary and heavily laden, and I will give you rest. So allow ourselves a bit of this rest in our doing and in our being, and then the sacrament can be the more easily celebrated. So that said, who would have any other additions to this why column? Or any additions to the how column? Or questions or objections? Or yes? Yes. Yes. Yeah. There's a newsletter out of the Shalem Institute,


and it was published there, and it was Rod Douglas who mentioned it to me, so I asked for a copy and he sent me a copy, so I have a copy if I can find it. Delightfully written. I'll write you that, and yes. Yeah, yeah. That would be inundated. Yeah, he found it for me, and it's a very good just one-page article analyzing this in himself as a tendency just to be very efficient in doing project after project. It means I never open to the larger horizon of the why. Yeah. Other questions, comments? Yes. Yeah, a comment regarding, I think, the past. I think sometimes where I get caught off guard, if you will, is when something in my environment triggers perhaps a past of scarring or deprivation,


and it's like I'm off to the races with that, and then I think it can be also an addictive process. I guess my question is, and maybe there's no simple answer for this, but how should I pray when those kind of events happen where it's almost like automatic and really good? Just the awareness that this is happening as a rager, that's very helpful, and then one just needs to work with it in whatever way helps, and certainly prayer helps. What I find consoling is just to give the past over to God. It's all present to God in all its aspects, and it's safeguarded there. You know, some of our precious moments, where are they now? Well, somehow they're in God, and they're also in us, and somehow they'll come to full fruition in heaven.


And then the deprivations, the woundedness, et cetera, also where people have wronged us, et cetera. At a certain point, to hand that over to God, nothing is more freeing than forgiving, and we can do that if someone has wronged us, or also forgiving ourselves if we've done something in the past that we can't now right. But I think the answer is God, the past is totally present to God, and let God also with the past, and let God with the future. Any other suggestions regarding that? I'd like to take up with that question. Could you speak to discernment about when the past comes up like that, and mine goes recently, when is it appropriate to stay with it, to learn from it, to profit from it, to create for the future, to learn? And when is it that obsessive compulsive enjoy being on the video?


Do you have any thoughts on that? You're a counselor. I struggle with it. Yeah, I think recurring, if it's like a broken record, if it just comes up again and again and again, I think that's a little indication even though we've given it time, we've given it prayer, et cetera, at a certain point, maybe there's just not that much more to do. But if it's a new insight, oh, my words, my mom said that to me, you know, 40 years ago, and I didn't even realize to this moment how much it hurt me, or how much it threw me off or something. That could be helpful. So sometimes things that come up in the past, you know, they want us to legitimately work. Again, if I can work on it, but from here, not just be pulled back in there, but mom isn't around anymore. Mom can't do that to me anymore. We've got a whole different relation. This is my case.


Mom is in heaven, and I assume praying for me, et cetera. It's a whole different, so work it through, but from here now, not just get sucked back into the then. I see a hand here, and then there and there, yeah. I found for myself that when I would go back like that into the past, if it's something that keeps recurring for long periods of time, the hurts of the past, that, and then I would find it when I would go back to those times where there was pain, that then I would immediately feel down, depressed, and that would get my mood. Until one time I was praying, and I realized that, I started to think about these things that had happened in the past that were painful, and the people that were involved in that have all passed away. They're all gone, and I started to think. I said, you know, the only place that this is alive


is in my memory sometimes because no one else in the world probably could ever even, they know nothing about this. It's right there somewhere in my memory, and it keeps coming, and what it's doing is, I stopped and I looked at the people around me at the time, and people that I love that were close to me, and I said, it's keeping me, right now, these memories that are only in my mind because that's all gone, from fully enjoying them, enjoying life, being fully present to them, and so all of a sudden it kind of shifted the perspective, and once that happened, it no longer had the same hold on me. That's helpful. Yeah, then is not now. It might be in our unconscious, but when we bring it to consciousness and acknowledge that, there's another little exercise that I found can be very helpful,


and that's if I'm angry with someone in the past, you know, just this kind of role play and to express it to them, and then to take the other side. What would they say back to me? And why were they doing that? I've done this a bit in terms of my relationship with Mom, which just opens my eyes because she didn't have the easiest of lives either, and, you know, mothering isn't, you don't get all this training for it, et cetera, et cetera, so there's all kinds of ways to de-absolutize the power that some of these things can happen over us. What's your hand? Here and then there. I was just going to say, returning to the body. Yeah. It's a really valuable practice for me, and when the thoughts come up, it's like just, I guess you use my heart, but people just do it in different places, and just breathe, and let go of the words,


and I think on a cellular level, sometimes there are all good things that we don't have words for, and somehow that, if you can just be present to that wave, the wave, and sometimes it has different flavors, but it's very helpful to process. The Eastern Christian tradition has the beautiful phrase of bring the mind into the heart. The mind isn't a bad organ, you know, God has created it, but if it's down here, rather than just doing it, that's very helpful. And the breathing prayer, Jesus' prayer, all kinds of things can help that. I noticed you're sketching. That can be very helpful. Journaling, all these different processes can help us just come here and integrate. Journaling in terms of the past can help. Yes, finally, excuse me. I just wanted to add


that I believe that in individual lives, just as in other processes, signals persist until they are received. And I try to learn to trust in my own experience and that if I am having recurring patterns in memories or feel like I'm fixated on something that happened, that there is something there that needs to be unfolded. I really like what you said about role-playing the ideas, that the conversations and what you said about stepping into the body and getting out of our head and our critical channel. I think all these things are valuable. I want to believe that my perceptions have meaning in my life and that they're there for a purpose and I just need to unfold and get the information that's waiting for me that I haven't quite got yet. And again, one of the few things that helps to bring me into the present moment when I am trapped away from the five all sorts of perceptions are the songs. And I cannot even explain why that is. Perhaps part of it is their resonance from the tongue of chocolate, the fact that they're poetry.


But I can't explain it. Here I am reading the poetry of an ancient warlike culture and yet they are the most deeply comforting things. I don't know. If I sit and read the songs, I am brought back to the present. It doesn't matter what has happened in the past. I'm very grateful. Songs are very mysterious. It's the basic prayer book of Jesus and Mary and Joseph, et cetera. Can you imagine if we could find the books that most nourish the spiritual? We know them and it's the book of Psalms that sums up all the Jewish scriptures as prayer and turns everything into prayer. Anger and depression. So wonderful resources. So we gather here four times a day just to share psalm verses with each other as monks. It's a great resource. It is the practice of the presence of God. We had a Zen master come and give us talks on the psalms and I didn't know


what he'd say but he so appreciated them. For him they were so Zen because when the psalmist is angry, he's angry. When he's happy, he's happy. Or she. It's just that it all becomes God-directed. This is the amazing thing. Sometimes we stay enclosed in our emotion and kind of go around in circles but this gives it a direction. Again, also anger against God. That's fair game. So that's a real resource, yeah. I have an insight that you can speak to. I try to use powerful symbols when I deal with my hurts. I think maybe that's one way of just bringing from the head to the heart something without words. The one symbol that I find that helps me is to imagine actually like you're avoiding stigmata. You have to cross your heart. Recently someone just told me that Frederick Peale,


his stigmata, it was never reflected and it never came. It was always an open wound. And I think that everyone has kind of these open wounds. And I think when we imagine like we cross our heart, it seems like distractions, they don't hurt as much and it's a way of some other kind of healing. But I notice there's a certain power to the symbol. Even if it's like you imagine a fire or flame, it does something. I don't know why but it does. I don't know if you've heard something like that. It's very sad to stop it. Yes, I think the mystics have written about the fire within. Certainly Richard Rowe was a big one. Suffering is a big one. I wanted to get to that. So many of the spiritual writers speak to it. It's an ongoing dimension of our lives. I think a great consolation for us Christians is that Christianity doesn't give an easy answer


for it, but places God and Christ right there in the middle. Here we have the crucifix. It's not as if our faith avoids the issue of suffering and also innocent suffering. And of course the cross. Here's a quote from Paul Claudel. Jesus did not come to explain away suffering. He came to fill it with his presence. So right at the heart of suffering is where we can encounter Christ, encounter the wounded healer. I love that image of Henri Nouwen. It goes back to the suffering servant imagery that's so strong in understanding who Christ is for us. And then the phrase of St. Paul, I fill up in my own body what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ. So somehow, without getting masochistic, our own sufferings can be redemptive insofar as they're united with Christ. And so yeah, one of the areas


that we really want to claim is the area of the experience of suffering which ones us with Christ and with God and is a place where really we can be united with God in a special way. And whatever helps in the energy exercise, whatever. Now there was... I want to go back, I think, to the subject. I don't really know where the threshold is that one could cross from prayerful dwelling in the past and neurotic obsession. I think most of us, I think it would be fair to say, are neurotic in one way or another. But it would seem that we are our wounds. And oftentimes the repairing memory of past wounds is perhaps a signal


of the inner self asking us to claim them on our ego level. I think sometimes we seek to escape our wounds. If only we could accept them, that they are part of us. I often picture the image of a bonsai tree, a living one in nature that has been scarred by fire or has a major leaf broken off by wind. The tree somehow grows around it and in its own way becomes very beautiful because of its wounds. It doesn't... It doesn't transcend the wounds of wind or fire. It just lives with them. And so I think acceptance, which would probably be given to us through the grace


of humility to recognize that we are our wounds and we can't really ever escape them. Anyone who can escape our shadow, that might help in terms of avoiding this perseveration into the past that actually takes us out of the present. The past is our present. It has become us. I think much wisdom here regarding wounds. Some of the spiritual writers talk about those as the openings that allow grace to come in. When I am weak, I am strong, kind of thing. And there's this macho ideology that, no, I'm tough. Nothing gets to me. But as you say, to acknowledge the woundedness is to acknowledge our Christ-likeness because Christ was wounded for us. And Christ carries his wounds into heaven.


When he appears glorified, that's how he's recognized. And he says to Dowdy and Thomas, put your fingers in my wounds. Don't look carefully at my face. But it's the wounds that prove this is indeed the Christ. So when we acknowledge our wounds, we're acknowledging our full humanity and our similitude to Christ. So we have someone here who has them. I'm building on that. When I was doing the Ignatian exercise several years ago, the image that was pointed out to me was that grace. It is the hole that makes the lake beautiful. And we spend far too much of our time trying to fill those holes instead of acknowledging them and accepting them. And accepting that God has made a place in us and has given us the grace to grow and be as beautiful as we are. I'm just going to say, I think it's very important to accept


we are woundedness. And certainly there are things that we can learn also as a consequence of our woundedness and pain. But I think perhaps the question may be that the point where it may become more of an obsession, I think, is that this recurring pain is keeping us from loving the way we should love. I think that's an important question to ask ourselves as well. If it's keeping me from loving God, perhaps, the way I should, or loving others, if it's interfering with that, then perhaps it's gone beyond. I don't know. That's just something that... Yeah, we're all at different points. And what for one person is excessive is for another person necessary. And that's why it's also fascinating to discuss as a group. The doctor will give this prescription to this person,


but it would be poison for this person over here. So that's how each of us needs to discern the spirits, as Jesus said. And a key criterion, and certainly you will know the tree bites fruit, and certainly love, that's the basic thing. Am I able to love God, neighbor, and self through this? It might take a little time before that fully flowers. I might be doing spade work in preparation for that. But as you say, if I get so absorbed in it that I don't get out of dwelling on my own woundedness or strength, my dignity or my sinfulness, you know, anything, we're able to abuse anything, that's the problem. So you've got to find that, what's helpful for me right now? Hand here, and then there, and then back. Yeah. Well, I just feel that these wounds, going back to the Lawyer, or even Elias, that's who we are. I mean, we wouldn't be who we are today, and in this present moment,


if we hadn't had this experience, we would be somebody else. I think these wounds allow us to walk alongside, and we are to be thankful for what you're giving away. And I think we are thankful for what? We've become, and then we are in a position to give it away, and to be with someone who's going through a similar circumstance, and to meet them one-to-one, face-to-face, eye-to-eye, and be with them, and be there for them. And I believe that, you know, if we had to go through the experiences we've gone through, to be this person that we are today. I think that's very helpful, and that fits right into De Cassade's insight, that wherever I am, God can work through it. And the truth of the thing,


one of the great English spiritual masters says, pray as you can, not as you can't. A kind of side of that is, be who you are, not who you aren't. Well, in my reading of De Cassade, the thing that I wanted to get most out of it was the genuineness. I wanted to be genuine in the moment. And the integrity, that is telling through me that I wouldn't be one person one moment, another person some other moment, but be this genuineness in the present moment. And I love that. Integrity, truthfulness. That's very important here. Again, we can go off into all kinds of flights of imagination. What was that secret world of Walter Mitty? Do any of you know that? Anyway, his wife would berate him, but he'd be elsewhere. He'd be a fighter pilot winning the war, etc.


No, I'm not a fighter pilot winning the war. I'm just here with this wife and with this situation, and how to pray this, how to be this, how to live this. We had a hand here, and I think over here, and then there. This is very... Yeah. In de Courzade's writings, or translation, the idea of accepting everything that's happening in the present moment as God being able to work through that, and he says something that really is sort of quietistic, I think. It says, Believe with an unshaken faith and confidence that what it arranges, meaning God, I guess, or circumstance, for each moment is best, without seeking elsewhere for more or less, and without pausing to consider the connection between these outward circumstances and the will of God.


Such consideration would be the seeking of pure self-love. Could you tell me why that's good? There can be this understanding of de Courzade, I think you said it very well, of quietistic. Whatever is the situation is good, I'll just accept it. Lots of situations are not good. Lots of situations are unjust towards me, towards others, you know. Now, I think a more sophisticated reading of de Courzade, who was a pretty sophisticated guy, was it may mean, the basic thing is to ask, in this particular circumstance, what does God want me to be or do? And God might be calling me resolutely to resist this. Now, what I want to do then is not to deny that and try to place myself somewhere else, you know, I don't like conflict. So I think that's the better reading of it. It can be read in a quietistic,


you know, whatever happens, happens. I'm told that according to some currents of Islam, not all, but you know, if the farmer finds a big rock in the center of the field that's obstructing, well, he just leaves the rock there because Allah put the rock there. Well, that's not what de Courzade is saying. You know, maybe God is saying, get that rock moved so you can cultivate the whole field with. So I think that's the better reading. Part of the circumstances is what does God want me to do in this situation? If I've got a husband who's drinking and it's becoming a heavy problem, I don't just accept this passively, you know, I might have to confront him and insist that he gets in a program or something like that. But that's where I am and somehow God will be with me in this. I think that's the moral. Thank you. There was a hand here. In looking at my thoughts,


which I've been doing for quite a long time, I came to a point a while ago where I realized that, yes, they were recurring and they were very boring. I got very bored with myself. And at that point I was able to sit down and outline an autobiography in that order of well, this thought's that and this thought goes in here and that one comes up and I pretty much recognized when they come up. And the other night, after your talk, the little circle of a self there, I went back and I tried to go there, or I went there, actually, and I went through the whole autobiography and all these little litany of thoughts that come. But I got there and when I got there, I got to this little bubbling cauldron of


I don't know what, but really fearful, fearsome stuff. I felt like the LeBron James of Tar Pits. You know? And I realized that's a step ahead because I'd not gotten there before and obviously it's there, but I don't know what that is. There were no words to it. But it's quite fearful, quite fearsome. I think, yeah, it's a real step ahead. And when we go in, in, in, it's not all bliss and nice there. One of our writers says that the cell of the hermit is a return to paradise and it's also a descent into the fiery furnace. Somehow it's both and. And sometimes it can be the one, sometimes it can be the other, etc. But to know that to face up to what's really inside, this takes huge courage and that's usually why we're running away with thoughts. I'm basically angry at that other person.


It's the whole problem of that other person. No, there's inner stuff that I'm trying to get away from. And it might be anger and it might be terror. You said fearful, fearsome, which is, that's interesting. Often those two go together. But just the primordial fear of death, you know, that's a biggie. And if we can work on that, one set of theories is that all of our particular fears are rooted in that primordial big fear and come to terms with that. And again, our faith is right in the middle of that in terms of suffering death and resurrection of Christ. But I think we need to go in there in faith with the conviction that in faith with Christ we can face anything. We can go through the fiery furnace. We can face the biggest terror of death or our fury against God knows what. Just human existence is pretty infuriating in many ways. But to know that is good.


Was there a hand over here? And now there's a hand over there. Okay, if we'll take someone... Good. Yeah. Okay. Going back to the journaling. Yeah. Sometimes in the middle of the night I can't sleep. And I find this helpful. I write a little letter to Jesus. Kind of like when you're a kid, you write a letter to Santa Claus. Yeah. And I just, if there's anything I'm worried about, I say, Jesus, please help me. You know, please take care of this and this and this and this. And by getting it on the paper and also kind of like leaving it in Jesus' hands, then I don't have to worry about it anymore. The other thing with suffering, whether it's pain, whether it's physical or natural, I offer it up. And then it kind of dissipates. And I think it dissipates because then I feel like I'm getting something worthwhile out of it. And sometimes I think it's almost like Jesus is waiting for me to offer it up. And he says, okay, now, you've offered up your headache


and then he takes it away. Well, I think two very wise things regarding the night. I have, I think, a charming phrase right next to my bed that says something to the extent, hand over all your problems to God before going to sleep. God will be up all night anyway. So God can take care of that. And again, the usefulness sometimes is getting it down on paper just to objectify it. But whatever happens to turn it into prayer, whether on pipe paper or whatever, that's that helpful thing. And then this traditional thing of offering it up, I think at its deepest, it's very wise because this is what Christ did with all the things happening to him and his basic life and existence. And in that offering, that's what Eucharist is. That's what the whole paschal mystery is. Then there is a, I think, some kind of redemptive thing to it. If we just dwell there


in self-pity or anger or just pop six aspirins or something, that could be dangerous. Well, sometimes we can take one, but the sufferings that we can't reasonably eliminate, what do we do? Well, that we unite them with Christ's offering and the suffering of all of humanity. I think that's positive. This Zosimov said that in Brothers Karamazov that the monk wants to get to that primordial suffering of all of humanity and be there, kind of stay with that suffering, not again in a masochistic way, but just to acknowledge it because so often we're running away from it with smiley faces and things. Now, Patrick had something and then we'll go here. I'm grateful for the discussion because it brought the answer about discernment. I think the answer is


the effect, what the effect may have, how intense it is, and how many times do you have to go through it? The question of repetition, that's what happens when you go into the races. To sit with the agreements once or twice, but a couple of times a day, I think there's a point in which common sense just enters into the process now. Yep. Good. There's here and then here. Well, I've just, at any time that I've heard, I've just prayed to Jesus for literally hundreds and hundreds of times. But I want to thank you for the breathing prayer. I had never heard that. And I did work with that last night and I found myself saying, Father, Son, Holy Ghost. And that's how my breathing pattern worked. And our spiritual director has us sit with our hands in receptive position. And I've always prayed to Jesus' prayer


with my hands in receptive position. I prayed the breathing prayer last night with my hands in receptive position. Anything that Christ would have me learn from this experience, I'm ready. So, I just want to thank you for that. I found that to be just a really special personal moment to just have my breathing be that simple in that prayer. Like family. Well, I found it a powerful vehicle of this mysterious rhythm of breathing, the life breath. There's a bigger... So, yeah, to link up praying with breathing is very powerful. And then just the position of our hands. The East is very aware that the body is important and integral. And we talk about body language. But if I'm kind of praying like this, it's quite different than opening up, you know. But to engage the body.


We do it somewhat in our liturgy with the bows and the sitting and the standing. And I think we're learning from the East to incorporate more. And certainly, when one's in one's inner chamber with the door closed, one can follow the spirit and find the things. But with just the hands open, as you say, this is more helpful than something like this, usually. Then there's Paulette. Yeah. Excuse me. What I wanted to say was addressing the idea of bringing emotion from the emotion that's triggered by the path and bringing it into the present or being with it in the present. And what I'm thinking of actually combines several different schools of thought. But the idea that comes from a Tibetan Buddhist idea is that emotion, all emotion is true when we experience emotion. And it's a particular kind of truth that's come to us in a moment.


It's an energy. And so that the idea becomes not to focus on the image that triggered it or on the circumstances surrounding it, but to focus on the emotion that's happening because that is what is in the present. And so you sit with the feeling because the feeling, the emotion, is intended to teach us something. There is a reason that it has come forward out of the body and out of our past or even out of the future. And so when you sit with the emotion, you sit with it and allow it to be and allow it to do the work that it is to do. And of course, this brings in a Christian piece. You bring Christ, you bring God into the place with you in the present where you're sitting with the emotion. And you just sit and you allow it and after a point you offer it up to God. And my way of thinking about that Buddhist idea is you can visualize, you can think about.


So the emotion is something that now you can kind of hold it in front of you and as you watch it or whatever, allow it to move forward in however, whatever direction. This is my idea because Buddhists don't talk about it in terms of God. But I think about it as a gift or a package and so now I'm going to offer it to God. And I think about it as going up and as it's going up the package is becoming smaller and smaller to me so that the emotion is dissipating out of me and out of my present moment and closing that with a prayer that I have gained what it is I was needing to gain to learn from the experience of this emotion in these moments and that whatever healing needs to happen that God will take care of the healing for me with and around this emotion and hold it for me. And that's, it's a way that I think about it


as a healing way of bringing things from the past and from the present I mean from the future into the present moment when the emotion comes out. The whole affective dimension is very important for our humanity and there's a kind of a stoical influence on lots of Christianity that's not that healthy maybe that I was brought up to think that I just don't get angry or I certainly don't get hurt.