Like I mentioned in an earlier blog about controlling flashbacks, it’s critical for survivors to stay grounded in the present moment. When I start thinking about the abuse I suffered in the past, I always remind myself that I am safe and in control, so the flashbacks don’t start to control me. Focusing on taking deep breaths also helps.
Centering Prayer helps me stay grounded in the present moment and develop a deeper relationship with God. I’ve been practicing it for more than 20 years. Like any relationship, communication is important which also means learning how to be a better listener. I am far from perfect about this although I’ve definitely improved over the years.
You don’t move around like yoga. You pray either sitting on the floor or in a chair, and you remain sitting wherever you are and focus on your meditation. Before you start, you need to choose a sacred word. Your sacred word is the symbol of your intention to allow God’s presence and action in your soul. It can be love, peace, or your own name for God. I love the fact that anyone from any faith can practice it!
Once you have your sacred word and you’re seated comfortably, close your eyes and take a few deep breathes to help you relax. Imagine something like you’re inhaling God’s powerful peace and love. And, exhaling all the tension and worries in your mind, body and soul. Visualize God’s powerful, peace and love flowing into your body. First through your mind and head, down to all your limbs, and then penetrating your soul melting away your anxieties overpowered by God’s awesome peace and love.
When you’re ready, silently introduce your sacred word, be with God, and just listen. When you become aware of your thoughts, gently return to the sacred word. Don’t be discouraged. Be gentle with yourself. Think of it as if you’re meeting God in a noisy coffee shop like Starbuck’s. You’re next to a loud table. There’s nowhere to move, so you’re trying to focus on what he’s telling you.
It’s important not to get upset about all the distractions. Don’t worry about your thoughts. You just let them come and go like noisy distractions in Starbuck’s you ignore, and remain focused on your sacred word and your intention and listen. Then, at the end of your prayer remain in silence with your eyes closed for a couple of minutes. It’s awkward at first, but you get used to it.
In case you’re interested in finding out more about Centering Prayer, here’s the website: http://centeringprayer.com/. What I love about Centering Prayer is that it emphasizes prayer as your personal relationship with God!