Accessing Your Quiet Mind

This post is a part of our weekly email called “Presence+Practice”. You can have early access to this weekly content by subscribing to our newsletter.


Presence:

What happens during your spiritual practice?

I love 2 Corinthians 5:17 that says when we are in Christ (consciousness) we are new creations and the old has passed away and the new has come. Spiritual practice is one way I can experience both the “old” and the “new” during even just one spiritual practice session. During my spiritual practice, my heart may drift to that old email I sent, and I worry that I offended. Then I come back to the present moment and sense in my heart the joy as I remember a picture of my granddaughter. Within seconds the old and then the new arise within my meditation.

John O’Donohue, poet, said “We do not realize the depth of invitation that each moment offers.” In our spiritual practice, we are learning how our minds take us into the future; how our hearts gravitate to the past; and even how our bodies get irritable with the stillness. Both scripture and science tell us that when we recognize what we are doing on the inside of us, we break the spell and experience what, as Donohue says, is “the depth of invitation in each moment” and what scripture calls “new creation.”

Practice:

David Vago, neuroscientist and researcher at Vanderbilt University Neuroscience Lab, has the capacity to watch the activity of the brain with a scanner while people are either simply thinking or meditating. Vago notes that when we are “just thinking random thoughts” the brain has a certain pattern and that when we engage in various forms of spiritual practice, the brain shifts to another distinct pattern. Vago notes that people can learn how to shift from one pattern to another.

At Second Breath, we talk about the importance of shifting from “trying” to do spiritual practice to “training” in spiritual practice—which can lead to lasting change in our lives. Vago’s research says the same.

In this spiritual practice, you are invited to experience two distinct mental states. With this awareness, you will heighten your capacity to notice your subtle old patterns of unconscious reactivity and pause to allow a new more grace-filled response to arise. Scripture assures us that when in Christ (consciousness), we are new creations and the old has passed away and the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17.

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