• Eirenicole

Inner Tranquility

Inner Tranquility 1080 1080 Nicole

To be eirenic is to be aimed at peace, oriented toward reconciliation. As a centering prayer I have adopted the prayer attributed to St. Frances, Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. So, that is why I call my website Eirenicole – a composite of eirenic and Nicole.

For Lent, we are using the book, The Art of Lent: A Painting a Day From Ash Wednesday to Easter, by Sister Wendy Beckett. This week, the theme is confidence. Our meditation for today is entitled, “Inner Tranquility,” and the focus of our attention will be on the painting, St. Nicholas of Bari (detail from the Ansidei Madonna), 1505, Raphael. The image is included in the post for this podcast, and accompanies the places where this is posted. If you do not have access to the photo, but do have access to internet, you can google “St. Nicholas of Bari, 1505, Raphael.”

So as you settle in your space,

listen for the silence; hear the space between the sounds.

Welcome the stillness; open to quietness

Settle into your space and invite your senses, your thoughts to sit with you.

Do you find confinement increasing anxiety?

Notice what has taken space in your thoughts, how it resonates in your body.

Greet it.

Breathe out an acknowledgment of the sensations.

Breathe in the grace that God also fills this space with you.

As you breathe out, exhale a prayer of welcome, embrace.

Continue breathing in and out, allow the Spirit to saturate, to fill you with peace.

Pay attention to God’s invitation to be present.

Settle into the peace of Christ as you listen. Hear the mediation and notice what the spirit of God draws your attention to in this painting. What is Jesus speaking to you here, now?

“Peace that demands unreal conditions is a deception…. the significance of those stresses, their value and their motivation.”

Sister Wendy Beckett, The Art of Lent

Insight. When experiencing a stress-filled situation, it is a simple thing to feel the stress, to know the agitation in your bones. And react, unthinking, to the discomfort: a harsh quip to the nearest person, barbed interaction with a loved one.

When there is discomfort, we judge it as wrong, somehow evil, even. Yet, when we take a moment to notice the nature of the stressor, the source of it, or even just our attitude toward it,

We hear the invitation in it: reevaluate. Why is my body tensing up over this? What is so potent to cause this pressure, this ache in my head?

A stressful situation is stressful insofar as I consider it as such. When I notice my discomfort, it can act as prompt to accept its invitation

To recreate, transform my judgment into discernment.

Take a breath.

Reimagine.

And slowly, perhaps excruciatingly so at first,

persistent, the physical effects diminish, dissipate,

direct the irritation into nothingness.

Until, without even being able to detect the transition,

it is no longer fraught.

I am nestled in an expansive space, timeless

Every surface unoccupied, ready;

primed to absorb insight, embody discernment.

And to know, body and soul, inner tranquility.

In what do you place your confidence? How does the truth of it impact inner peace in a stressful time?

May you move in confidence in the embrace of the truest Source of peace, and may you walk at the pace of grace.

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About the author

Nicole

Nicole Oliver Snyder’s expertise lies in the areas of leadership, gender issues, and mindfulness practice as it affects both. Leadership, particularly in an urban setting, requires community-relations skills, and an ability to clearly convey justice issues as they relate to felt, spiritual ones. Dr. Snyder is author of Leading Together: Mindfulness and the Gender Neutral Zone, and specializes in teaching mindfulness leadership development, formative spirituality, counseling, and Old Testament theology (emphasis on justice issues). She has a diverse background in international community-relations work combined with volunteer work in multi-ethnic communities, and with local institutions. She is an ordained Clergy; holds a BS in Human Development and Family Studies, w/Education Certificate, an MA-Counseling, MDiv Equiv., holds a Doctor of Ministry and Advanced Certification in Formative Spiritual Direction, and is a Licensed Professional Counselor (MI).

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