During my sophomore year of college I went to a spiritual retreat sort of thing put on by Intervarsity. I was shocked by much of what we learned (I talked more about that here). Spiritual practices that have more base in mysticism – rather than playing to my staunch lutheranism accidentally steeped in a little calvinism – scared me and turned me off before I even gave it a chance.
But in spite of that, one piece has stuck with me.
It was more a meditative practice than anything else. I think it had its roots in lectio devina, but it was basically a way to calm your mind as you tried to listen to God. As part of what we were introduced to, we were told to open our hands and rest them palm up towards the ceiling as if receiving a gift. Each time a distracting thought passed through our heads we were to imagine holding it lightly in our hands and then turn our hands over as if releasing it to fall on the ground. However hokey it seemed to me at the time, having a physical reminder or action to perform as a sign of letting go of a thought has been helpful.
If I am worried and trying to go to sleep or if I am caught up in a uselessly anxious train of thought during the day, I do this sometimes. I take them in hand and put them in Jesus’ hands because his are so much more capable and 24/7 than mine.
Sometimes I turn my hands palm up and then down in an action of release, because the action helps me to actually hand it over, and sometimes I just imagine the action as I release my worries to God.
And then I find peace and sleep.
Because there is only so much I can do. And worrying instead of sleeping doesn’t usually help.
I am blogging everyday this October on the theme of Soul Calm. I want to take the dust of the day and sift it through my fingers. I want to see beauty, drink peace, and rest in calm assurance. Let the dust drift away, seen and unseen, beautiful, maybe, but not mine to keep. I hope it blesses you. You can find the collection of Soul Calm posts here: