Incorporating Sound and SightMar 26, 2021
God graced us with the gift of the senses to provide a tangibility to our life-giving prayers. We've touched on working with Drishti's and affirmations, but let's delve a little deeper into infusing our postures of prayer with sound and sight. Next month, we will be looking at incorporating the gift of smell into our conversations with God.
Music, whether driving a car, cleaning the house, or gathering at Church, evokes many feelings, offering a level of connection beyond what the ears provide. Both song and sound can take us on a round-trip from memories to hopes. They can serve as a threshold. By crossing over, we open the space to verbalize our resolutions, petitions, or gratitudes with Christ.
Discern what calms you. What prepares you for this grace-filled time with Christ? Is it the sounds of nature, ambient tones, classical music, or jazz? I invite you to experiment here by asking yourself what you wish to convey through the sounds you now ask to accompany your prayers. I offer one piece of advice; I find music with words distracting in my own experience, pulling me away from my dialogue. However, this is your time; treat it as though you are inviting someone special into your home - what sounds would exude from within?
How about making your own sounds? Bring on the power of the affirmation or mantra! While we associate the voice with our throat and mouth, these sounds begin in the gut. Try to loudly sing the word AMEN at this moment using only the throat and mouth. Now repeat this exercise using your abdominal muscles. Spend a minute here - do you notice any differences? Most people recognize when singing or speaking from the abdomen, their words have more power and reach as they exit the body.
This realization begs us to begin looking at the incorporation of mantras by first analyzing our posture. Let's try another quick exercise. Wherever you are sitting, allow the body to slump forward, so the abdomen caves inward. Let's sing or say our loud AMEN here. Now, sit up straight, being aware of your posture. Belt out your loud AMEN. Notice any differences? Ponder for a moment what posture means to you. What does it communicate to God? How does it affect what you are trying to convey in your prayer?
When forming your affirmations or mantras, begin by creating short, positive statements. For example, I am calm; I listen; I am open to God's voice; I am living God's purpose for me. These simple statements often have the most potent effect both externally in the words of your prayer and internally within your emotional body. It is said we breathe to believe. Therefore, what you say enough becomes your new truth. And, if we attach God to this truth by way of these prayerful statements - even if they are made in petition, and you don't believe them at first to be accurate, His grace becomes attached to their meaning. Christ tells us to ask, and it will be given to you. I don't believe He meant to ask once, rather invite us to be transformed through the repetitive reaching of our voice upward to His Heavenly Father.
Colors can soothe our eyes with calm and peace, infuse us with great joy, and beckon contemplation. As you mold your hands and allow sound to dance within, visualize, wear, or surround yourself with pillows, cushions, blankets - any objects of color that you feel mirror your prayer. What color would you wear if you were meeting Christ today?
There are no wrong colors! Let's try this: think of one color at this moment. What effect does it have on you? Does it excite you? Calm you? Evoke an emotion? While I offer a brief relationship between color and characteristic, what it truly means and adds to your prayer comes down to you, God, and the color. Sit with each of these; see how they resonate with you. Imagine it surrounds you and God - how do you feel? How do you see God in this color? Does it lend itself to the meaning you wish to portray in your prayer? Does it invite or restrict conversation?
1. Red: circulation
2. Orange: stimulating
3. Yellow: alertness
4. Green: calming
5. Blue: yearning
6. Violet: transformation
7. Brown: connection
8. White: balance
9. Black: protection
What about a combination of colors? For example, we can visualize the Sea of Galilee as a serene combination of blue and green - might this render a yearning for calm. The graying sky at Calvary is a combination of white and black, which could offer an invitation to pray for a balance in your desire for protection. Play with them, combine them, feel them. Imagine a ribbon of two or three colors intertwined, connecting your hands with Christ's. What would the entanglement of these bound colors be a petition for? What might the flow of their detangled freedom beckon you to be grateful for?