"Lord, what else hast thou said to me by placing me in this holy monastery, but 'My daughter, walk always in my presence, think of me in all thy ways, and I will direct thy steps?'" –St. Jane de Chantal
Out of the stillness, time unfurls herself before me like a red carpet, and I am royalty, the Beloved. I walk through a garden of delights. As I practice letting go of thoughts by tuning into my sensory experience, the sounds, smells, and sights of the desert open themselves to me: the lush green of the plants and trees after rain, the smell of the creosote bushes, the trill of birdsong. I observe the constant shifting of light and shadow.
"In calm all becomes sensible and my soul is desirous of experiencing even the lightest breath of Thy grace." –St. Francis de Sales
Could this be a way of living? Jesus says, "Yes!" "I have come that you may have life and have it abundantly." The kingdom of heaven is compared to a great banquet because it is realized through the lived, embodied experience that begins with our senses. In stillness, we open to the present moment, the only place we can meet God. There is joy. And, we can trust that, if we are fully present and anchored in God in this moment, this event, this decision, then the next will take care of itself.
Jody Johnson is an oblate and formation director at Visitation Monastery in Minneapolis. She wrote her "In The Desert" series while on a two week study and prayer sabbatical. Jody also teaches contemplative practice and spiritual formation at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities. This article is cross-posted from Jody's blog, with her permission.
For In the Desert, Part 3: Be Still and Know, click here.