Earlier this week I had the opportunity to spend time on an organized spiritual retreat called Deeper Journey. It was a time of getting away, of building community, and practicing the spiritual disciplines in order to grow closer to Christ and tend to my soul. It was something I greatly needed. It was also a time where I spent an hour plucking on my guitar.
Just bear with me, there is a connection.
I’ve been taking guitar lessons since January. I started taking lessons because my kids were taking lessons on guitar and drums. I was spending about a half hour there doing nothing anyway so I started asking questions about guitars. Soon I decided to start taking lessons my self. Since then, I’ve learned about discipleship through playing guitar. I’ve learned about having patience through playing guitar. And I’ve learned to be calm while playing guitar.
Last week my teacher taught me patterns for plucking the guitar while playing chords (think House of the Rising Sun by the Animals or Dust in the Wind by Kansas). I started practicing the plucking pattern. I realized that I was plucking happy…err…happily. There was something about plucking the strings while changing chords that led to a serenity that I couldn’t explain.
When I went to go on the retreat, one of the items on the agenda was 4 hours of solitude and silence. I already wrote about my issues with solitude. Me, four hours of solitude and silence? So I asked if I could bring my guitar with me. Yep. I could. So I did.
And I spent an hour just plucking along. There was something about it that made me mindful of where I was at. I can’t fully explain it. But I was in the moment when I was plucking along. I was focused just on the moment.
This is called mindfulness. The idea is that we are mindful of the moment we are in. But more than that, we are mindful of that moment because God is present. The idea of mindfulness really came to the forefront with a dude form the 1600’s who wasn’t even allowed to be a monk. His name was Brother Lawrence. He practiced the presence of God in all that he did–from washing dishes to fixing shoes. Each moment he took time to focus on God’s presence in that moment. He wrote a number of letters to people who wrote him and it was compiled into a book called Practicing the Presence of God. It’s a short read (but Brother Lawrence seems a bit uppity to me at times… but maybe that’s just me.. probably is) but a profound one.
And while I was plucking along in a room adjacent to the chapel at a monastery, I realized I was being mindful of the moment and practicing the presence of God where I was at. I wsa in the moment.
It made me wonder, how often am I truly just in the moment. How often do I just stay in the moment and practice being mindful in the presence of God.
I’m in a coffee shop as I write this, Nirvana is on my playlist, playing right now. A bunch of things are happening around me. Even in this time, there’s an ability to practice the presence of God and be mindful of him. Maybe not with Nirvana but still, a time to be mindful that God is present with me and I’m invited to be present with Him at this moment.
How can you be present with God today? How can you be mindful of Him and what He is doing in and through you today, at this moment.
Pluck along and be mindful of Him, practicing the presence of God.