Monastery Moment in Grand Central Station
When we are stretched, frenetic, frazzled, with little inner peace, it is plain hard to bring our best selves to the world.
Jesus said, “My peace I give you, I don’t give as the world gives.” He knew what we were up against in the temporal world. It’s so easy to unravel and become spiritually sloppy—to live from our flaws instead of our glory.
I believe we were made in God’s image, created with so much potential for goodness, beauty and miraculous love. But we forget. We lose our way. We become distracted. We muscle through instead of leaning into God. The world wears us down.
We are works-in-progress. Less than stellar days are to be expected. On our best days, we are living reflections of the Divine in the world. The angels cheer us!
It takes great intentionality to operate from our generous souls. You and I both know that sinking feeling when we go low instead of high in our thoughts and actions. God doesn’t hold it over us, but instead offers us another breath, another day, another chance to try again. I am convinced our souls need “time outs” from this world if we are to operate more consistently from our divine nature. Every single one of us could benefit from regular doses of peace in our daily lives.
Several years ago, after spending a week at a monastery in Kentucky, I coined the phrase, “Have a monastery experience in Grand Central Station.” Imagine the kinder, gentler, more serene you and I would be living cloistered from “the world.” But it’s just not possible. Mainly, because I love my “Grand Central Station” life. Beautiful, sacred life happens here.
What I do know is the world suffers (I suffer) when I operate in the world— tight, tangled, and spinning. Jesus modeled the necessity to step away from the noise, to find again that still point of peace within. We have to regularly leave the world so we don’t lose ourselves to the world. I need to carve out “monastery moments” in my “Grand Central Station” life, and I bet you do too!
I have the beloved monk Thich Nhat Hanh to thank for his “smile meditation.” This simple breath exercise smooths my harried edges! You can practice it in gridlock traffic, “test your patience” work meetings and family gatherings, doctor’s office waiting rooms, and 5 o’clock kid meltdowns. The goal is to release the angst, so peace can take its place.
Invite a “Monastery” Experience in Your “Grand Central Station” Life:
Close your eyes, lay your hands open-faced on your thighs. Keep your mouth closed. You will inhale and exhale through your nose. Take a large inhale through your nose, hold it at the top for a second and then exhale through your nose—And smile. The closed mouth smile is revolutionary! Over 100 muscles instantly relax in your body. Repeat the inhale, hold, exhale and smile at least 5 times! Watch what happens. Relish it!