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Looking for More Peace this Easter Day? 4 Spiritual Leaders Share Their Daily Practices for Rising Above the Noise

Looking for More Peace this Easter Day? 4 Spiritual Leaders Share Their Daily Practices for Rising Above the Noise

By Meghan Rabbitt | Stacey Lindsay
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How do I stay grounded in this chaotic world? How do I love when there is so much hatred? How do I stay hopeful amidst all this pain? These are questions so many of us wrestle with. As beautiful as it is, our world can sometimes be too much. 

Today, on Easter Sunday, it feels especially important to ask: How might we rise above the noise and find the divine? 

To answer that question, we turned to four of our trusted spiritual leaders and asked them to share the practices that help them do just that. Each is a beautiful reminder that there is always room for love and peace, no matter how or where we find ourselves.

A Daily Examen from Monsignor Lloyd Torgerson

At the end of every day, I look back at what happened throughout my day and I look for instances of God’s hand. This helps me see that God’s Hand was always there—even though I may not have seen or recognized it when it was happening.

When I think back on today, I’ll recall the fellow who does some training with me at the gym. He’s such a kind person, and today we were talking about the prayer and meditation that’ll be a part of this Easter Sunday for him. What a gift that is. Then, I visited with someone who’s very ill and wanting to plan his funeral. That’s a God gift, too.

To look back over all parts of your day and to see God working? This has made a huge difference in my life of prayer.

Monsignor is the pastor at Saint Monica’s Catholic Church in Santa Monica, Calif.

A Grounding Practice from Sarah Jakes Roberts

My daily practice for staying above the noise is centering myself with stillness, prayer, and deep breathing. By inviting the steady presence of God into the rapid pace of my world, I am able to ground my soul and discern how my life is a solution to the concerns hidden in the noise. 

Holy times are a reminder that the meaning of my life can easily be hijacked by other people’s needs and wants. Taking the time to still myself helps me remember that my life belongs to the divine. 

Sarah Jakes Roberts is a New York Times bestselling author, spiritual leader, and businesswoman. Her forthcoming book is Power Moves. Learn more at sarahjakesroberts.com.

A Prayer of Noticing from Father James Martin

Here’s an easy practice to help you stay above the noise, and even find God in your everyday life. And, with a little modification, you can even use it if you don’t believe in God.

It’s basically a prayer of “noticing” that was popularized by St. Ignatius Loyola, the Founder of the Jesuit Order (full disclosure: of which I’m a member.)  It goes by many names but is usually called the examen, after the Spanish word for examination. Basically, you’re “examining” your day, looking for signs of the divine. Usually, people do it at the end of the day, as a kind of looking back over the past 24 hours. And it only takes a few minutes.

You start out simply by remembering you’re in the presence of the divine. Sounds simple, but we often forget that prayer is not just a monologue. Then, you recall whatever you’re grateful for. These could be big things, like a good diagnosis, an unexpected raise, a healed relationship. Or they could be little things, such as the feel of sunlight on your face after a rainstorm. You pause and thank God.

Next you try to remember the whole day, start to finish, looking for signs of God’s presence: an encouraging word, a freeing thought, a funny conversation. Look at all the people, places and things from the last 24 hours.  Where was God? Then, if you feel like you’ve done anything wrong (since none of us are perfect), ask God for forgiveness and think about ways you could rectify the situation. Finally, ask God for the grace to notice the divine the next day.It sounds easy—and it is!  But it’s also essential. We tend to get so submerged by the noise in life that we forget to stop, take stock and especially be grateful. Soon you’ll see your whole day as suffused by God’s presence, and it won’t seem very noisy at all.

James Martin, SJ, is a Jesuit priest and author. His latest book is Come Forth: The Promise of Jesus’s Greatest Miracle.

A Lovingkindness Meditation from Sharon Salzberg

Years ago, I was considering various cover design possibilities for an early book of mine, A Heart As Wide As the World. All the designs were meant to convey expansiveness, but one, in particular, seemed desolate—it was vast but more bleak than inviting, giving me a sense of nowhere to turn. A friend of mine looked at it and said, “This looks like a world that can use some love.”

That phrase became a kind of mantra for me, a reminder of the North Star by which I want to navigate my life. Especially when I feel stressed or the momentum around me seems captivating but crazy, I look around me and remember, “This looks like a world that can use some love.” Then I do some version of lovingkindness meditation, silently looking from face to face on a Zoom call, or those I pass walking down the street, or bringing people to mind when sitting in more formal meditation at home.

The meditation is done with the silent repetition of certain phrases as an act of gift-giving or offering. Don’t struggle to manufacture a special feeling. The power of the practice comes from your complete, wholehearted presence behind each phrase. When your mind wanders or you become distracted, see if you can let go gently and return to the phrases.

If you are sitting in meditation, you can begin by repeating phrases like, “May I be safe, be happy, be peaceful, be free.” Then, call to mind different recipients, like a friend doing well or someone struggling right now. Get an image of them or say their name to yourself, and offer the phrases to them, “May you be safe, be happy, be peaceful, be free.” And we end with the extension of lovingkindness to all beings everywhere, “May all beings be safe, be happy, be peaceful, be free.”

Sharon Salzberg is a meditation pioneer, world-renowned teacher, and bestselling author. Learn more at sharonsalzberg.com

Meghan Rabbitt

Meghan Rabbitt is a Senior Editor at The Sunday Paper. Learn more at: meghanrabbitt.com

Stacey Lindsay

Stacey Lindsay is a journalist and Senior Editor at The Sunday Paper. A former news anchor and reporter, Stacey is passionate about covering women's issues. Learn more: staceyannlindsay.com.

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