Pray and Breathe About It

Today we consider #6 of the 10 Essential Conditions for coming to know God’s truth and finding life by Fr. Tom Hopko. This was a difficult post to write because I decided to do it before I wrote about it. Here it is:

The person should sit alone and still in silence for at least a half an hour each day. They should watch their thoughts, but not engage them. They should a very short prayer while doing them, to avoid engaging their thoughts.

I am in my car in a parking lot and have spent the last 30 minutes in silence praying and breathing instead of thinking, analyzing or working. I am praying in my car while my son, John, is skateboarding. I slowed down but my thoughts swirled for a while. This exercise is better done on my hike or office. But today life interfered.

It would have helped to set aside the 30 minutes early in the day before things got going. I did get up and make coffee and read the lectionary and do the morning prayers. But since that time I have been too connected, if you know what I mean. And while this is not my first rodeo it has been more difficult lately to sit for 30 without engaging thoughts. But today I took Elder Paisios’ advice to leave the thoughts in the air like airplanes and not grant them permission to land.

What about you? What has your experience been with sitting in silence for a half hour?



Filed under Orthodox Christianity

3 responses to “Pray and Breathe About It

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Pray and Breathe About It | Scholé --

  2. Jim Truscott

    My Mom had a plack in her kitchen, “Grant me Patience Lord, But HURRY!” –I try to “listen” once in a while but I’m not patient… Not one of my virtues…

  3. Laura

    It’s hard! It seems that whenever I open up the Bible or my prayer book, the silence in my apartment breaks. Everyone suddenly wakes up or someone decides to make a phone call–and hang up as I say ‘Amen.’ But a quiet place doesn’t necessarily ensure a quiet mind and heart, and a quiet mind and heart need not depend on a quiet place. Sometimes silence makes us even more aware of how distracted we are, which I usually am!

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