I was praying the Rosary the other day, and somehow I managed to find grace to be lost in my own existence. The fact that I exist. The prayer kept going silently from my ever-so-slightly moving lips, and yet I was there just existing.
These moments are rare in life, but so precious. I wish I experienced this more.
The fundamental fact of humanity is that we exist. I believe it was Martin Heidegger who really emphasised this in his philosophical works. And how it needs to be emphasised, because we so often ignore it.
I mean: we exist. We are alive. And the fact that we exist – I exist, you exist – is AMAZING. It is incredibly strange, if you think about it. It’s odd that anything exists. And yet, not only is there a world, but there is a you and an I.
There is a lot of talk today about Mindfulness. Much of Mindfulness is getting people to appreciate this sort of thing. Focus on your breathing. Focus on taking in a deep breath, and focus on breathing out that breath. Just focus for a little bit on your breathing. That’s the advice given often.
If you do that, there is chance you will become aware of your own existence. That you are. That you have a body. That you have lungs, a heart that beats on its own.
You see, we all take life for granted (or am I speaking only about myself?). But to have been given life is such a privilege. The gift of life is the greatest gift God has given any of us. To live. To participate God’s own being: ‘In him we live and move and have our being,’ (Acts 17).
I can’t talk much about other methods of meditation because I haven’t tried them, but I can talk about the Rosary. And sometimes when praying the Rosary, we are lifted beyond ourselves, beyond the words, beyond even the meditations, to God himself and coming face-to-face with our own objective existence.
Stillness. Silence. Where God is most found.
You know, God hides himself in Scripture quite often. God doesn’t always want to be found, except by those who humble themselves enough to find him.
God hides in the darkness, say the Psalms.
Jesus often hid himself from the crowds. Often he didn’t want those he healed to publish his name anywhere.
Elijah found God in the still, small voice.
The Church calls this sort of thing ‘contemplation’. I experienced something similar to it the other day and it left me hungry to experience it more.
But contemplation is a gift of God’s grace. We cannot just produce it ourselves.
What we can do is put ourselves into the best position to experience this divine gift of contemplation. How can we do that?
By sitting still. Stillness helps produce silence.
By perhaps putting on YouTube in the background and playing a live video of Adoration of the Eucharist.
Or perhaps by putting on some very holy music in the background.
By gazing at an image of the mystery we are meditating on in the Rosary.
By asking God to give us this precious grace of contemplation.
None of these things guarantee that we end up being lost in the ocean of the divine being. But they are a good start.
Let me know if you have had this experience before, and how it came about.
God bless you!