Often when I read the lesson for Sunday School it’s a rote blurred reading of material I tell myself I’ve heard a thousand times over. The words zoom past, but my mind is only partially engaged, as my to-do list and a myriad of other distractions compete for attention. Such was the case when I read the lesson last week: “Moses, creation story, I need to get that window fixed, what’s for dinner….” and away my mind goes!
The skill of mindfulness helps me, first, recognize, that I’m off in la-la land, and second, come back to the narrative at hand. I imagine that for the monks who are “good at this mindfulness stuff,” this recognition of drifting into “monkey mind” looks like a gentle epiphany of awareness, with a wise nod, a little smile and a knowing sigh. For me it looks more like this: “…window fixed, hey! CARRIE! What are you doing!? PAY ATTENTION!!”
And I’m back.
I read the words, “And I God, said: Let there be light; and there was light.” I imagine the scene from the stage of my own head: A giant thunderous God, high in the clouds, with huge billowing robes, wielding a golden sceptre; He speaks in a booming voice, commanding to the darkness, “LET THERE BE LIGHT!!” Rather than rush, I sit. I sit with the words. I sit with the images of my own mind. Curious and aware…
…and the story starts to settle and evolve. Like one of those dot-pictures: with focussed attention the random colors and blotches transform into a 3D image.
I start to see in this ancient biblical story my own journey. Darkness. I think of the times when I have felt small, hurting, and surrounded by enveloping, dense, darkness. How far away God’s Heavenly power has felt in those moments. As I continue to sit with the words on the page, a different image arises. I imagine the Savior, whispering to me, in deep empathy that comes from personal understanding. He is not far away, He is here. Right here. Reaching to me, looking me in the eyes, whispering, offering, “Carrie, let there be light.” I feel His love, and His tender respect for my agency. I sense the possibilities that He is offering if I will allow myself to receive it. Oh, how I want that light!
Sometimes people ask me why I am interested in “Mindfulness.” I notice that when my mind is present and focussed I am better prepared to hear those quiet whisperings. Practicing mindfulness helps me be more present and focussed. That’s valuable to me, even, no, especially, during my weekly reading of the Sunday School lesson.
~ Carrie Kelley