In the beginning…

We started our Retreat with the opportunity to write down on a piece of paper anything or anyone we had brought with us on the Retreat, which or who was liable to interrupt this time. It could have been about a relationship or vocation or a family member in trouble or whatever. The piece of paper was then sealed in an envelope and left with God for the time of the Retreat. At the end retreatants were invited to take the envelopes back or leave them to be destroyed.

We then spent some time getting comfortable but alert. Feet flat on the ground, ideally upper legs parallel with the ground, backs and heads straight, hands resting naturally on our thighs.

We then travelled, mentally, up our bodies from our toes, up our legs, through our vital organs, out to our finger tips, up into our brains and faces, down our necks to our hearts. It was as it we were just checking that everything was there and thus becoming totally aware of our bodies.

We then became aware of our senses, what were they telling us? gradually we turned them off so that we became still.

In that silence we could become aware of our breathing, trying to breathe in by pulling down our diaphragms, so that we took a really deep slow breath and breathing out in the same slow way. This would be something that we ought to be aware of every day: counting in for say four beats, holding our breath for four beats, breathing out for four and then holding one’s breath for another four. The awareness and the control would grow.

We then followed the air down into our lungs and imagined the vital oxygen being taken up in the haemoglobin and setting off round the body in our blood, through our hearts and then out to the tips of our fingers and toes, up to the top of our skulls, through our vital organs, bringing oxygen and collecting impurities, and finally arriving back in the lungs to release the carbon dioxide, which was then exhaled.

Finally we imagined that we were inhaling God and allowing him into every part of our bodies and our lives. Filling ourselves with his goodness and exhaling all that is unworthy of him.

There was silence.