Breathing is the holiest of acts.
First, remove distractions. Close your eyes and direct your attention to breathing. This act interrupts any thoughts in the mind. As thoughts come back to the mind and you notice that your attention has moved away from this center, which is breathing, simply return your attention to breathing.
As this cycle repeats, try to make the thinking less and the breathing more, until, in the breathing, you experience not yourself breathing, but Him.
This is the secret sacredness of breathing. This exercise strengthens your focus and self control, and you will be calmer and stronger for it tomorrow. But more importantly, it brings you closer to your true self, which rests with God at the center of Being, for you cannot find your True Self without also finding God, for he is intimior intimio meo: “closer to me than I am to myself.”
The first step on the path to the True Self begins with a breath. This act is both an exercise and a prayer and it can be performed in small doses at any time during the day. Thus each moment can be sanctified with this holy act.
The Primacy of Being
I am not my actions
nor am I that which acts.
Neither am I my thinking
or that which thinks.
I am no-thing.
But that I am, means I am what-is.
This simple awareness of what-is
is the source of my constant joy, my awe and wonder.
I am not my thinking nor am I my actions, but these are very close to me for they follow from my being. Thus I am revealed in my actions and my thinking as these proceed from my being. When I meet Christ, it is my being who meets Him, not my thinking or my acting.
In much the same way is God revealed through the small things, yet He is never completely known.
Similarly, this is why it is not thinking, not understanding, nor doing or acting that has primacy; rather, it is the being from which these flow.
Christ invites us into His perfection. First and foremost, this means one must be a Christian, not just do Christian acts and think Christian thoughts.
This is the primacy of being.
“What is the value of great theological erudition
or great pastoral adeptness or intense but fleeting mystical experiences
or social activism when there is not a well-formed heart to guide a well-formed life?”
– Henri Nouwen
“You sanctify what you are grateful for”
My constant prayer is gratitude, for we sanctify what we are grateful for. In this act we can make holy for ourselves each moment of the day. This is what it means to smell the roses.
Bear Me Away – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
When the signs of age begin to mark my body
(and still more when they touch my mind);
when the ill that is to diminish me or carry me off
strikes from without or is born within me;
when the painful moment comes
in which I suddenly awaken
to the fact that I am ill or growing old;
and above all at that last moment
when I feel I am losing hold of myself
and am absolutely passive within the hands
of the great unknown forces that have formed me;
in all those dark moments, O God,
grant that I may understand that it is you
(provided only my faith is strong enough)
who are painfully parting the fibers of my being
in order to penetrate to the very marrow
of my substance and bear me away within yourself
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following Your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please You
does in fact please You.
And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road,
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore I will trust You always
though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for You are ever with me,
and You will never leave me to face my perils alone.