Body Prayer: The Cross of Completion

April 13, 2015 - 2:02 pm Comments Off on Body Prayer: The Cross of Completion

An Introduction To Body Prayer: The Cross of Completion

In mystical teachings of traditional religions, East and West, in both the indigenous spiritualities of the earth-centered native and pagan religions, there is a clear respect and understanding for how movement, dance, and bodily prayer are part of sacred expression and worship.

Movement is life… so the gestures of the body are all things to pay attention to and respect. We know that a person’s body language matters, and conveys a greater part of the meaning of a dialogue, a prayer, or a chant. Our postures assist us in embodying the words and give them life.

Christianity is no exception; among the early Christians, and in the Gnostic Gospels, we find examples and references to the use of physical or body prayer to express their understanding of Jesus’ life and teachings, and how such physical expression can be used to portray the development and maturation of the spiritual and religious human being….

With this short background, I invite each of you to stand and to practice a body prayer with me…

I have entitled this prayer The Cross of Completion….

In a line or a circle, standing upright, and comfortably strong, with feet together, and stretching your arms length out, we are given the natural cross of the human being….

The cycle of life is like a circle of movement, from birth we slowly begin our journey up and outward, and we return to the body for our closure as we near death…

The first position in our life’s journey is down, in, close to mother…

We are focused on the security, trust, and comfort we first receive, and that will nurture the emerging, growing self… (Please place your hands on or across your stomachs, and then bend gently inward…)

As we grow and mature, we seek to reach and to expand our lives and our understanding of ourselves, our spiritual and physical adolescence and young adulthood… This is the process of growing and stretching to meet our world…

(Move your feet apart to near shoulder width, and begin to move your arms up until they reach the height of your head, flex and rotate your hands, test their flexibility…)

We move upward and begin to stretch further as we reach our adolescence and young adulthood… We stand strong, vital, in search of our personal strengths and heights and widths as an individual…. And in that reaching, we begin to ever so slowly open upwards with our hands to the larger world to contact and connect with others….

(Move your feet out to shoulder width, reach your hands up as high as you can , and take your hands and make gentle fists, and alternative the fist with a reaching out and stretching at your fingertips….)

As we mature further, we realize that is more than a singular search, more than self-centered in its growth…. (Lower your hands and arms to shoulder height…) And we begin to reach out alongside ourselves to see if we can reach or touch the boundaries of our personal world and to begin by touch to bring others into our lives, into a relationship with us…

(Move your hands slowly out to the sides, and make brief contact with someone on either side of you…)

But we quickly learn that this desired contact is not easy… It has its burdens and caring has its price… We are often misunderstood, taken advantage of, left unloved, or disillusioned… Our arms can feel heavy under the strain, we can no longer hold all of our cares, we release our spirit, and find, through our faith journey, that we have assumed a position of holy surrender…. (Move our arms slightly down, bent at the elbows, with palms up and out… Tilt your heads )

In that place of self-emptying, we gain a peace and a way of understanding never before revealed to us… . We can grow strong and calm in our acceptance. As we acknowledge our pain, we learn empathy, consideration, and as we have matured, we become more wise and compassionate beings.

(Arms come down, straighten, and with palms up, we move our arms and hands outward to others and the world…)

As life’s journey nears its end, we arrive at a reckoning, and at a level of self acceptance and self understanding that keeps counsel within our hearts… As a result, we learn to face the rest of our lives with a quiet courage, a sustaining gratitude, and a peace-filled assurance of having lived our lives well….

(Bring your arms back towards your body, place them palms together in front of your heart, in a prayer position….

and then, slowly fold your arms across your body, and bend your body down slightly, lower your head or your chin….. )



Comments are closed.