You are a soul first and secondarily a body. Most of the times we are not aware of this because we tend to live on a rational level. We are constantly busy with thinking, reasoning, judging and deciding which is the way we function in this world. We may know that God exists on the rational level but are we aware of his presence in our soul? How do I get in touch with my soul or self beyond the rational level of living?
To get in touch with your soul we must retire from external and internal distractions and become aware the rhythm of your breathing - In this way you become self aware, aware that you are a living soul. To do this we must find a silent place, a room, a garden, a church, etc. and there sit erect and still. Do not follow the thoughts, images and desires of your mind, disregard them. Concentrate your attention on your breath. In this way you become self-aware, aware that you are a living soul. The rational soul of distractions has faded into the background of your consciousness. You are now in a contemplative stance.
At the same time you will become aware of a mysterious presence in which you live, move and have your existence or God. To enter more fully into the mystery of God begin to read scripture especially the psalms. I usually begin by reading the Mass readings of the day with its psalm. In time some word, or phrase will attract you which is God speaking to you at your particular stage of spiritual life. This morning, for example I read, "Exult, you just in the Lord! Sing to him a new song." I began to repeat mentally in unison with my breath, "Exult in the Lord my soul, give praise to his holy name." In this way I rejoiced in God's presence for one half hour. At another time instead I may talk to God about my troubles. Still another time, I may need to express repentance from my sin, "Have mercy on me O God for in you I take refuge."
The above are mere words unless you do this every day. We must pray in season and out of season, when we feel like it and when we do not feel like praying. Due to our fallen nature we are inclined toward spiritual laziness. To overcome this we must endure some pain. We may find prayer boring because only creatures interest you. God is invisible and hard for you to find comfort in him. This is your trial which in time you will overcome if you remain faithful to contemplative prayer and the peace it brings.
R/My soul is longing for your peace bear to you my God.
1. Lord, you know that my heart is not proud,
And my eyes are not lifted from the earth (R/My )
Lofty thoughts have never filled my mind,
Far beyond my sights all ambitious deeds. (R/My )
In your peace I have maintained my soul;
I have kept my heart in your quiet peace. (R/My )
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