Meditation has taught me inner peace and deep gratitude
Learning to listen to silence has been a journey for me. It has been Christian meditation that has led me on this journey of discovering how to pray with my heart and not just my mind. It wasn’t an instant attraction to this way of prayer. I tried meditation multiple times and found sitting in silence difficult and confronting. Finding a community of other meditators finally helped me to practise and persist with silence and meditation. There was something about sharing silence with others that drew me in, a deep sense of community led me to a deeper awareness of prayer.
I believe we all have the capacity for silence and when we allow ourselves to experience this deep presence within us, our lives have the possibility to be transformed, so that even in the most chaotic moments of our everyday, we experience an interior peace. Meditation is a way of praying. It transforms us, encourages us and challenges us to be in the present moment.
Christian Meditation focuses on Jesus as the spirit of love that dwells within me, in each of us, waiting for us to activate that love and pour it out to others as it impacts us. Christian Meditation has taught me to take the focus off myself, to let go of my ego and find a deep inner peace that exists with the everyday moments of my life, even in the times when there is chaos and disruption in my life. Meditation has taught me how to bring Christ’s love into the ordinariness of our lives, to be a sign of grace and gratefulness. I have realised that to be grateful is to recognise God’s unconditional love, the gifts or grace he gives us in the good moments and in the challenging times of our lives.
The deep peace I feel, I accept as a gift and it expresses itself as a feeling of gratitude for all in my life.
I am drawn to the example and practice of the Desert Fathers, to bring contemplation into my ordinary life. The other-centredness appeals to me; I call my meditation time, my deep well of peace and joy. It is a time to tap into that place in my heart where God exists as peace and love. It fills me up and urges me to be present and care for all that exists around me. It draws me to the awe and wonder of creation, connects me to into the beauty of nature, the love of creatures, the value of the environment. I don’t see silent prayer as a substitute for other forms of prayer, but rather complimenting it.
There is a balance between busyness and quietness and I experience a wholeness about my life when I find time for both. The times I make for silent listening gives me energy, strength and courage to live in those other times when I am busy working, when I feel stretched and stressed with the pressures that surround me. I am grateful for the gift of meditation and the experience of joy, peace and love it brings to me and the courage to embrace all of life, in the good times and the challenging times.
BIO: Ann O’Connor is the Campus Pastoral Associate (Staff) for the Strathfield and Blacktown Campus. She has a heart for community and creating places where people feel welcome and valued.