Going Beyond Words

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10 Practices for Spiritual Unfolding

Lois Huey-Heck

128 PP | 6" x 7"
Paper, Includes Audio CD
ISBN: 978-1-55145-589-1

Contemplation, meditation, and prayer are some of the ways we "practice" our spirituality. Like learning new music on an instrument or drawing in a sketch book, we mature as spiritual beings as we practice being "present to the Presence." By slowing ourselves down (even for just a few minutes a day) and bringing our focus to that-which-is-bigger-than-us, we are transformed. This book offers spiritual practices that have their roots in ancient tradition and have been adapted and refined to be relevant and accessible to anyone interested in spiritual unfolding.

Utilizing word, image, sound, and silence to engage our cognitive, emotional, and physical intelligences, the practices encourage and celebrate the ongoing process of spiritual transformation. They are designed to expand our repertoire of ways to be present to ourselves, to each other, to the cosmos, and to the Holy  - in other words, ways to do our part in serving the Great Work.

This practical book is illustrated with black and white images by the author. It is small enough to carry around in a shoulder bag or jacket pocket, and comes with an audio CD containing background music for the practices, timed intervals for meditation/contemplation/prayer, and verbal instructions. You will find it easy to begin the practice of engaging your whole self in your spiritual journey.

This book will appeal to people who already have a spiritual practice and are looking for ways to deepen or enliven it. Easy to do and understand, the practices are equally useful for individual and group settings, for everyday and for retreat settings.

Lois Huey-Heck, Author

Lois Huey-Heck is a spiritual director, retreat leader/group facilitator, author and visual artist. For over twenty years her day job (spiritual publishing) also connected her to matters of spirituality and the practical concerns of putting values/beliefs into action. She has an abiding belief in the inherent sacredness of the body and all creation. The symbiotic relationship between sexuality and spirituality remains a favourite subject in her art, writing and research.

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Media Reviews

Donald Grayston, Co-Director, Pacific Jubilee Program

I'm convinced that the way forward for the Christian community is deep re-engagement with spiritual practice. In this book, artist, spiritual director, and Jubilee colleague Lois Huey-Heck directs our attention to practice and gives us the kind of spiritual exercises that will take us where we need to go - inward and forward. Warmly recommended.

Tim Scorer, Author, Experiencing Ecological Christianity

I want an endless supply of these inspired guidebooks to slip into the hands of all those who, like me, are forever deepening their contract with mystery while de-mystifying their contract with everything else.

Stillness Practice III
Sensation & Free Silence

Enter into the Silence, into the
    Heart of truth;
For herein lies the Great Mystery
    Where life is ever unfolding;
Herein the Divine Plan is made known,
the Plan all are invited to serve.
Listen for the music of the Holy Word
in the resounding Silence of
        the universe.

– Nan Merrill
Praying the Psalms

At first silence feels like a place you go to but it becomes a place you come from.
– Cynthia Bourgeault

This practice works very well in the context of a personal/silent retreat.

Preparing
Create a space of an hour or so where you won’t be interrupted. Have your journal, note pad, or sketchbook at hand. You might wish to have one of the silence tracks (track 4, 7, or 10) from the accompanying CD ready.

The Entryway

  1. Take a few mindful breaths (I know I am breathing in, I know I am breathing out…).
    As a way of checking in with your physical self, scan your body for sensation, such as tension, pain, congestion, tingling, numbness, or a stir-of-energy. As Gunilla Norris says, “noticing the particulars we can also begin to notice the space in which they are held…the vastness that holds everything – the great lap of silence.”
     
  2. Give your full attention to the part of your body where you are feeling sensation (or each part in turn if there is more than one). Feel whatever is going on. Be discerning about whether something needs to be done, such as visualizing your breath coming into the area, touching the spot, or moving in some way. Check in with that part of you to see if there’s anything it wants you to know.
     
  3. Ask yourself if there’s anything else the body wants before you move to the next step.
     
  4. Write whatever comes to mind in your journal. It may be in response to your breath, to what you felt and observed in your body, or something completely “other.” Write your stream-of-consciousness (whatever comes up) without censor. In her classic book The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron promotes the benefit of writing three pages every day. Write three or more pages. Write until you are finished.
     
  5. Sit comfortably with your eyes closed. Return your attention to your breathing and be centred in your body in present time.
     
  6. Settle into the silence with no agenda other than to be present. If you find yourself making to-do lists, bring yourself back to the present moment and your intention to drop into silence.  Be as present as possible to whatever emerges. Follow impulses that serve your purpose of deepening communion with God.
     
  7. When the time of silence is done, return to your journal and write/draw in response to or in gratitude for whatever came to you in your time of free silence.

 

Wise are those who learn through
        silence;
    learn then to listen well.
For beyond the silence and stillness
        within,
    you will come to know a profound and dazzling Silence.
Herein lies the music of the spheres,
    the harmony of creation.
Enter into the holy temple of your soul,
    converse with the Beloved in
        sweet communion.

– Nan Merrill
Praying the Psalms

Eternity is not a long, long time. Eternity is the opposite of time:
It is no time. It is, as Augustine said,
“The now that does not pass away.”
…it is accessible at any moment as
the mysterious fullness of time.

– David Steindl-Rast
Music of Silence

From Chapter 7: Stillness