Me and Tree Blog 16
Updated: Nov 19, 2018
“ME AND TREE” BLOG
by Dr. Jacob D van Zyl tel 013 752 2000
Practice@37A Ehmkestreet, Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, SA
BLOG (16/2) posted on 2018/11/06 – check this blog for the next update in two week’s time
MOVE OUT FROM UNDER THE DARK SHADOW OF STRESS
In the previous blog (number 15) I shared with you my version of self-relaxation in order to move out from under the dark shadow of stress.
In this blog (16) I feel excited to share with you the three circles of silence, as well as the Lectio Divina principle (an approach to read the word of God in a specific way). As a Christian psychologist I can highly recommend this approach in order to enrich your quiet time – it contributes to your well-being on a physical (reduced heart rate, rest for your body and relaxation), emotional / psychological as well as spiritual level.
The three circles of silence and the Lectio Divina Principle
The Lectio Divina is a principle for quiet time / Bible study that originated from the early church – presently it is winning more and more field amongst christians, different denominations and facilitators of spiritual retreats.
The Lectio Divina can be described as a way in which you can become aware of God’s presence in the here and now of the moment by praying / meditating on the Word of God. It has been described as the prayer of the heart.
First you need to move out from the dark shadow of stress in order to come at peace. A way you can achieve that is to make use of the “three circles” of Christian meditation.
The first outer circle
Moving into the biggest outer circle entails to become quiet by hearing the sounds within your immediate environment by closing your eyes, focussing on your breathing, to become quiet and to become aware of all the sounds within your immediate environment like your own breathing; the singing (orchestra) of the birds; the bark of a dog; or perhaps the far away sound of the engine of a vehicle...
The second inner circle
Then you need to focus within yourself. Become more aware of your own breathing, become aware of relaxing in each part of your body: your feet, legs, lower parts and upper parts of your body, neck, facial muscles, shoulders, arms and hands; perhaps you become aware of a feeling of discomfort in the position you are sitting – correct it by taking in a different position or allow relaxation to flow into that part of your body.
In this circle it is often enough to inhale and exhale thrice in a conscious, mindful way – to be aware of each inhalation and exhalation your body does for you. Now you can become aware of the emotions in your inner world – the way you are feeling; if it is a positive feeling of peace, joy or harmony stay with it in the here and now and let it grows; if it is perhaps negative of nature like something you are worrying about, something that is bothering you or something that irritates you, you can just acknowledge it – do not try to fight or resist it...
The third circle in the core
Then you are ready to move into the third circle in the centre / core namely God Himself, the presence of God. You can do it by repeating your name for God, for example God, Lord, Jesus Christ, Immaneul or Father with each inhalation and exhalation for about three times. You can say it in your mind or you can say it softly with your lips so that only you can hear yourself or you can even say it aloud. Ask God to speak to you through the passage in the Bible – you now can move on to Lectio Divina.
If you felt a negative emotion or sensation in the second circle, you can let go let God this particular emotion or sensation in the third circle.
Now you can go to the part / pericope you want to read in the Word of God / from your Bible study book / from the spiritual book you are busy reading from. Or you can revisit a sermon you have heard or a spiritual lecture you made notes of. It can only be one verse or a pericope or a whole Psalm for instance Psalm 121– you can be guided by the Holy Spirit how much you need to read. Do not feel obliged to read the whole section. Less is actually more...
You need to read the piece a first time in order to review it / to gain a broad perspective on it.
Then you need to read it a second time in order for you to choose only one word of phrase which speaks to your heart. It helps to mark it with a marker or pencil.
You can even read it for a third time to make sure if you feel the need to do it.
By this time you ought to have the word or phrase or concept that really touched you the most – for instance “He will protect your life” (Ps 121:7)
With this word, you can go back to the third circle in prayer / in the presence of God. Ask yourself what does this word/phrase/concept mean in the here and now of your life.
Ask yourself what your answer is on what it means to you.
Go into prayer with God with what you have received from Lectio Divina.
Take the word to God. Sit at His feet. Listen to what He wants to tell you through the word. Pray it. You do not need to understand it. You can rather experience it or allow God to talk to you about the meaning of this word in your life. Be touched, strengthened, comforted or gain a new perspective.
If you have any questions in this regard or you have the need to share your experience with me, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org I am also available to facilitate a group or come to your organisation or church to talk about the subject.