Daily Devotions
 
Daily Devotion
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

Daily Devotion

Last week, I led our student contemplative group in a feelings meditation. Does that sound ridiculous? Maybe it is. I’ll be the first to tell you I don’t much like my feelings—they’re often unpleasant and I’d rather they just went away. Actually feel them? Invite them in and hold them gently? Thank you, no. I’m being a bit extreme here, of course: I’m getting better at feeling the feelings, but I still don’t like it. 

We began our practice as we often do, grounding our bodies in the space: adjust your sit-bones and your legs on the cushion or the chair, relax your shoulders, rest your hands on your knees or thighs in a comfortable, open position, imagine a string attached to the top of your head tugging up just a little to align your vertebrae, breathe slowly. After a time, I invited them, in their own minds, to notice what emotion they were feeling in that moment. No answer was wrong and there were probably multiple emotions—notice and name one of them and really lean into it. 

Now this is where it gets a little weird but also so helpful. I invited them to try to notice where in their bodies they felt this emotion. For me, it was anxiety rooted right in the center of my belly. For one it was in the heartspace, another the throat, another the head. I asked them to gently rest a hand on that physical location, almost cradling the space where the emotion sat. And we breathed together, drawing our attention and our breath to the physical location of our emotions, gently wondering what those emotions might be pointing to. I said the other day how odd it is to talk about this kind of thing. But y’all, the experience of just holding your emotions, being honest with yourself about them, and cradling yourself as we care for other people? It’s breathtaking.

There’s a famous poem by the Sufi mystic Rumi called “The Guest House.” In it, the poet says about all the feelings we have: 

“Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.” 

Allowing space for our feelings, including and especially pain, grief, and resentment, allows space for God.

 

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