I am teaching a J-term Aquinas Honors Seminar at the University of St. Thomas this month title Contemplative Practices. We had our first two classes this week.
After an introductory session on Tuesday, we spent yesterday on practices of stillness and silence. I introduced practices from several different traditions; some we just talked about, others we practiced.
What especially pleased me was the effect on two of the students who were not looking forward to Thursday’s class session. Both thought silence would be too hard, said (in one way or the other) that they were not suited to stillness and that more active forms of contemplative practices would be more meaningful toward them. Yet both were open to the practices we engaged in and, at the end of class, one of them observed that she was surprised how natural the practice came and that she could see how this kind of practice could be helpful to her.
So if you are someone who has shied away from contemplative practices of stillness and silence – whether it be Centering Prayer, one or another form of mindfulness or breathing meditation, zen sitting or anything else – why not give it a shot? You may find yourself responding much more favorably than you expected you might.