I was chatting with the priest at my church about the wedding, stresses, and sort of what’s been weighing me down lately. I’m not sure if it’s just the chaotic nature of my life that may have been wearing me down a bit the last couple months, or if there’s something deeper bothering me of which I’m not fully aware or in touch with yet. I told him for at least the last month and a half I’ve been constantly praying for peace—for the world and for myself. I know that it’s peace I need in my heart and on my mind. So, I keep praying for it, but I feel like I should be doing something. My impatient self wants to know how do I get to peace? What do I need to do to be peace? I write, I take care of my body, I try to be a good person most of the time, I think of others, do nice things, look for peace in nature, and on top of praying to Jesus and Mary, I’ve been including St. Oliver (the patron saint of peace) in all my prayers. I’ve been growing in my faith and feel I continue to be closer to God. So, why do I feel like there’s something inside me trying to get out? There’s something inside me that needs to be freed.
Father Ed told me what you do, is just be. Then he told me the joke he always likes to say, “We’re not human DOINGS, we’re human BEINGS.” Good one, Father. Good one. He talked to me about meditating, and I told him I’ve tried it, but I find it very hard to stop thinking. He said he totally agreed with me, and that how Catholics practice meditation is by allowing ourselves a moment of stillness, and instead of trying to stop thinking, we welcome all our thoughts to allow them to be absorbed and resolved by Jesus. Let Jesus take them on. He is our Prince of Peace.
He said allow yourself to think about that childhood trauma, that bad thing that happened to you today or that you did, the helpful advice your friend told you last week, the hug your sister gave you. Think about it all and let your thoughts run their course.
He used the metaphor of old married couples. You’ll see 80 year old couples who are absolutely in love with each other, but they're not necessarily do anything. They can just be, and they are blissfully happy and in love. They already know what the other is thinking, how to finish each other’s sentences, so they just be. I pondered that a bit and I thought, yep, that makes sense.
Instead of stopping myself from having negative thoughts or stopping myself from thinking about something I don’t want to think about, perhaps he’s right. Perhaps if I let myself think, allowing my thoughts to be wholly absorbed and run their course, because eventually they will flow into peace when there is no more running to do.
I pondered all of this for a couple days as I tried to get myself to commit to daily meditation—I know it’s not a one-time healing, so I have to be committed to it. I mean, there’s never an instant cure to anything, is there? Then I came across something Mother Teresa once said. “I used to believe that prayer changed things, but now I know that prayer changes us and we change things.”
That struck a chord with me. Finally, I fully grasped how prayer (which I’ve found to be a form of meditation) would bring me to peace. I was finally able to fully absorb what I heard in Father Ed’s words.
So I finally started taking my time with prayer/meditation, because while I do pray daily, I’ve not necessarily taken then time to shut off the world for a few minutes to myself to really pray on my thoughts. I probably do that once a week when Sister Viriginia literally shuts of the light and guides us through a few minutes of daily reflection, which really is like a few minutes of meditation. I can’t necessarily say how well it’s working yet, but I can tell I’m slowly opening myself up to allowing myself thoughts that I usually try to shut off as soon as they enter my mind. I also feel lighter with each meditation, and a bit more joy, like I am at peace with all my thoughts--good and bad.
I think in this hustle and bustle, fast pace lifestyle some of us live, we tell ourselves we don’t have time for negative thoughts, because they’ll hold us back when we’re trying to move forward—which is true if you let those thoughts linger or consume you. Yet, at least with me, I find if I don’t let the thoughts run their course, they like to resurface from time to time, and that is certainly something I don’t have time or energy for!
Moreover, some of us lead fabulously chaotic lives, but it’s important to remind ourselves to slow down and stop for a moment so that we can absorb all the wonderful things we’re doing. Something Sister Virginia taught me is to take time each day to think about what was good in my day and where maybe I messed up. While I’ve taken on the habit of doing that, with Father Ed’s advice, I’ve been incorporating that into my meditation rather than while I’m on the go or doing something, which is the usual case.
So, I'm committing to daily meditation so that I might be a more peaceful person as I walk through this beautifully chaotic life of mine, and may the peace I find and feel spread to others.
BIG LOVE & HUGS