Originally posted on Facebook HERE
A single red rose. A sacred hour. A mantra. These three things are on my mind today as I continue reading “The Rhythm of Life” by Matthew Kelly. What an amazing book. Maybe the best book I’ve ever read – I’d certainly put it on the same level as my other favorites from the likes of Michael Singer and Wayne Dyer, etc. And, for me to include any book in that stratosphere means – this is a book I’ll read over and over again for the rest of my life. But I digress… a single rose. For me, it starts there. Kelly’s book is written from a Christian perspective, and at one point he starts talking about taking an hour a day (a sacred hour, more on this later) to spend in prayer. He goes through many ways to use this hour, but one of the first to be discussed is the meditation of the red rose. According to the book, in the Middle Ages a single red rose was a symbol of Christ. It’s the symbol he uses, but for you it could be any image that leads you to focus your attention on God and the perfection you seek. I decided to try it in my daily meditations. Focus on the rose as a symbol of God, and let the meditation be guided from His will. When thoughts start creeping in, go back to the rose and listen for guidance from within. The results for me were incredible right out of the gate, two days of intense meditations the like of which I haven’t had since I was meditating daily for long periods of time while in Florida in April writing my last book. I found an awesome photo online and made a couple canvas’s of it to hang in my home office and at work to remind me daily of where my focus needs to start. I saved the photo in my photo collection to access from my phone, iPad, computer, etc. I can get lost in that photo. I usually meditate with headphones and either music or sounds (rain, ocean, etc), but today I tried silence. Silent meditation with 5 minute reminders only. Wow. Went longer and deeper than I have in quite some time. I will post the photo below. If you happen to see a photo of a red rose in our house or in my office know that it’s there as a reminder to me that everything starts from conscious contact with God, and His will. Doing the right thing. Always. On this, I refuse to cut corners. In life, cutting corners has become way to commonplace. Centering myself with God, then following that path is very important to me. I need all the tools and reminders I can get. For me, seeing that red rose canvas as I work is a constant reminder that through the insanity that can be daily life here on earth, there is peace with God. And from that peace is where we create our best selves. One red rose. A sacred hour. I have been doing this, somewhat inconsistently, for years now without ever calling it this. One hour a day spent in prayer. When I first read that I thought, wow – that would be tough. At first it sounded like a full hour of daily meditation, but reading further it’s more about taking an our a day as a gift to yourself, in ways that bring you closer to God. Reading, nature, meditating, journaling… whatever that is for you. Are you truly happy? If not, perhaps it has something to do with your relationship with God, and yourself. Maybe you don’t even have a clue what happiness would even look like for you. This is a great place to start. Daily journaling, reading and meditation has made a huge difference for me. I’m nowhere near 100% on this, but I have had what he calls “a sacred hour” set aside as a daily goal for years now, and I’m much closer to doing it daily than I would be if it wasn’t. It’s my favorite way to start any day. And then there’s the “mantra”. He describes repeating a phrase to himself hundreds of times throughout the day to help him stay focused on what is truly important. At the time he wrote the book, his mantra was “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace”. I would suggest finding your own phrase that speaks to your heart. For me, I’m starting with “The unnameable is the eternally real” (from the Stephen Mitchell translation of the Tao te Ching). I plan on using it in conjunction with the red rose canvas visual reminder that all things start by being centered in God. When I see the rose during the day, go to the mantra. If that happens over and over day after day every day, will it begin to affect your reactions? I think it will. How could it not? A single red rose. A sacred hour. A mantra. What are you willing to do to create the best version of yourself? Maybe, just maybe, these simple ideas will lead you to a happier, healthier, and more fulfilled life going forward. You’ll never know until and unless you try it, though. May the grace of God be with you on your journey, wherever it leads.