Recently I've read various thoughts about meditation and prayer that have stuck with me. Journalist Johann Hari's book Lost Connections discusses the power of regular meditation to bring healing from anxiety and depression. It opens space for transcendent insight and new meanings and choices available to us. Meditative states allow us to shed the weight of our egos, including worrying about what others think, self-defensiveness, self-criticism, shame, etc. The author adds that prayer often works in similar ways, lifting heavy weights in our lives, and opening the door to seeing ourselves and the universe in greater depth and with greater compassion.
Spiritual thinker Richard Rohr describes what it can feels like to enter a transcendent state in prayer or meditation like this: "...[O]ur heart space, our mind space, and our body awareness are all simultaneously open and nonresistant. I like to call it presence. It is experienced as a moment of deep inner connection, and it always pulls you, intensely satisfied, into the naked and undefended now, which can involve both profound joy and profound sadness. At that point, you either want to write poetry, pray, or be utterly silent." (From The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See").
It strikes me that he lists profound sadness as part of transcendent spiritual experience. I usually pray and meditate hoping for greater joy and inner peace. As I read this recently, I remembered recent experiences of sadness during my own spiritual practice. I can recognize that the sorrow I feel for human suffering plays a big role in my own spiritual development and even my transcendent experiences. My sadness informs my own desires and capacity to cultivate faith and spirituality, and also seems to pave the way for much of my joy and meaning making processes.
Our meditation and prayer space is still open and available for walk-ins Monday-Friday, 10am-4:00pm, and will also be open during summer. We are grateful to be able to offer a quiet space on campus for all you students to enjoy your own spiritual practices. May you find the healing and spiritual experiences that you need at this time ❤.
- Candice Wendt, administrative coordinator at MORSL
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