Sands of Time

Image courtesy of  sattva/

Today I am writing about something very personal. The photo I chose to illustrate today’s writing was taken by Sattva, and the photo is  entitled “Sands of Memory.” It seemed appropriate because today I am writing about the magical transformation occurring in my life because of contemplative prayer.

When I read today’s meditation out of Open Mind, Open Heart (Keating, T., 2005,p. 8, New York: The Continuum International Publishing Group) I was, as we used to say, “blown away.” Here before my very eyes were the words that explained the magic of contemplative prayer to me. It seems that God’s spirit heals us when we quiet our mind to the point that we are able to  experience “interior silence.” Keating explains that this process works in a psychological way without our conscious knowledge—much as one is unaware of what happens when one is anesthetized and undergoes surgery. In fact, Keating says, “The purpose of contemplative prayer is to facilitate the process of inner transformation.”

I would tend to question this promise of an unconscious “inner transformation” if I had not already started experiencing it myself. I have been practicing contemplative prayer for a few  years now, and during my first year of “unknowing” I had not read about what can happen during contemplative prayer, so I had no preconceived expectations. During one of my group contemplative prayer sessions I sensed that someone entered the room because of what I smelled. I think I must have audibly gulped at that point because I recognized the scent as that of the man who molested me when I was four years old and who has been dead for decades. The Spirit moved me to have a conversation with this man and to tell him while I would never forget what he did, that what he did has shaped my entire life, that I forgave him, and that I loved him. It wasn’t easy, but the Spirit told me he had brought the man to me because I needed to do this. The Spirit also reminded me we are all one and that God is in each of us. Because of this I was able to honestly tell the man I forgave him and that I love him.

Since then, I have studied and learned more about contemplative prayer. I have come to understand that my “contemplative spiritual experience” was one of healing. It was a gift God gave me when he knew my “unconscious psychological level” was ready to handle the experience within the embrace of his love and guidance. On a conscious level through much reading, journaling, and counseling, I had developed insight about what happened to me all those years ago, but I could not “force” the healing. Healing was something only God could do, and it would not have happened had I not invited God to do so by consenting to his presence when I entered what Keating calls the “interior silence.”

So, on a very personal level, I know that God works on my “psyche” when I seek his love in that sacred interior space by stilling my thoughts and listening. Now, thanks to today’s meditation, I know that my “inner transformation” is occurring on an ongoing basis even if I am not consciously aware of it. Contemplative prayer is changing my life and my eternity. I believe the only way I can adequately thank God for this precious gift is by attempting to share it with others who follow a spiritual pathway. May God bless and keep you.