7 trin

© Wojciech Nowak SJ

Introduction To the Practice of Meditation – 7 STEPS

1. The Great Discovery
2. Breath
3. God (?)
4. Surrender – Entrustment
5. Acceptance
6. Word
7. Here and now



Sit comfortably, but not lazily.
Calm down and get into contact with yourself.
It may help you to focus on your breathing, your heartbeat or sensations coming from your body - e.g. feeling the warmth of the inside of the hand or sensations coming from the surface of the skin of your face/hands.

Feel alive. Be aware that you are alive. Realize: "I am... I live... I exist".
What "taste" does life itself have? Stay a little in touch with the LIFE within you.

Reflect: No one gave life to himself. No one invited themselves into this world.

I DISCOVER that I am alive. I find myself, I find my life. I discover that my life is a CONTINUOUS GIFT.

Where do I come from and who am I? What is my deepest identity? My parents wanted me too, but they didn't know me either. They passed life on to me, but they are not the source of it.

They wanted to have a child, but my mother did not guide my [biological] development in her womb. For my parents I also was a gift. They didn’t know me, but they opened their lives to me.

I didn't find myself in this world by accident. Some mysterious Supreme Ultimate Power WANTED ME and that's why it gave me life.
So, I am "wanted", that's why I live.

My life is a GIFT. Life is given to me. And it didn't just happen once, but it's still happening, every second, every heartbeat, every breath... it's still happening. It's happening HERE and NOW. You just need to open up and realize it.

Where do I come from and who am I? What is my deepest identity? What is my life heading towards?



One of the tangible signs that I am alive – apart from the heartbeat – is breathing.

Now focus on your breathing. Breathing has three distinct phases: inhale, exhale and a shorter or longer moment of apnea.

The idea is to consciously follow your breathing.

Be aware of the moment when the inhalation begins. Be aware that the inhalation continues – it is a process, not a moment. Then, be aware of the transition from inhaling to exhaling. Exhaling is also a process, not a moment. Be aware of when the exhalation ends and the apnea phase begins. When you pause in the apnea phase, do nothing – this is very important – but, just WAIT for the next INHALE.

Notice the moment when the inhaling begins, then that the inhaling continues – it is a process – and notice the moment of transition into exhaling, then that the exhaling lasts, is a process not a moment, and notice when the exhaling ends and turns into the apnea phase. Then WAIT for the NEXT INHALING.

Endure this waiting, do nothing. It will come on its own, you don't have to do anything... Breath comes to you on its own, it is given to you along with life, it is one of the necessary biological components of this life. Just like life, breathing is a GIFT. And it is happening NOW, moment by moment.

Don't try to influence your breathing, don't try to interfere with it, just FOLLOW it WITH CONSCIOUSNESS, being aware of each phase of it breathing and when it begins and ends.

Act as if you were walking along the seashore listening to waves. You have no influence on the current strength of the sea – whether it is rough or calm – nor on the frequency of incoming and outgoing waves. The only thing you can do in relation to the sea is experience its movement – to look, listen and smell. Take the same attitude towards your breathing – open to it, experience it (don't think about it, just experience it, "taste it"), and follow it with awareness.

Don't be afraid, if you don't think about your breathing or try to influence it, it won't go away. Our breathing, just like other basic life processes in our body, is watched over by the mysterious Supreme Ultimate Power through the autonomic nervous system, even when we are unconscious, such as during deep sleep.

If emerging thoughts, images, sounds (from the outside) or emotions try to distract you from following your breath, do not get irritated, do not get upset, but – every time you realize that you have stopped following your breath, that you are distracted – calmly come back to the breathing, to being aware of your breathing, to following it. This coming back "without irritation" is very important. Irritation means that you want to fully control your life and want to be perfect – that you do not accept that you are "dependent" and that you are not perfect.

Similarly, tiredness or boredom during breathing meditation shows that you still want to act, that you want to have an influence on everything, that you cannot accept that you are being gifted, that you cannot let go.

You can practice breathing meditation for 5-10-15 or 20 minutes. This is a "return to yourself meditation." This is conscious contact with life itself, with the "source of vitality" itselfthis is contact with that mysterious Ultimate Suprame Power that gave you life, that constantly gives it to you, that keeps you in existence.

Imagine how your life could change if you started each day with 5-10 minutes – I recommend 15-20 minutes –  of "breathing meditation" ("return to yourself meditation") and ended that way?


Step Three - GOD (?)

Who am I and what is my deepest identity? Where do I come from?

Of course, we have parents. They passed life on to us, but they are not the source of life.
They only took steps to conceive new life, but they are neither the authors nor the source of life. My mother did not guide my development in her womb, nor does she make my heart beat now. The SOURCE OF LIFE is beyond man.

Until now we have called it the "Mysterious Ultimate Supreme Power". The question is, is this "Power" formless, mindless energy, or "something more"?

Some people speak of "God" as the CAUSE and PRINCIPLE of the Universe. "Cause", that is, what makes something exist. "Principle" – that which keeps everything in existence and directs the processes in the Universe.

If there is a God, then... who is He? Or in other words, what conditions must this "Mysterious Power" meet to be called "God"?

In a nutshell. For God to be God, He must be the Creator (of the Universe) – the GIVER/SOURCE OF LIFE. Not only the Giver of life, but also the ESSENCE OF LIFE life itself.

The world has not existed "forever". According to scientists, physicists and astronomers, the universe is about 13.8 billion years old.

They reconstructed the evolution of the universe going back to the so-called "Planck epoch" or "Planck era", that is, to the conditions in the first 10−43 seconds of our Universe after the "Point Zero" (Big Bang), during which (below this fraction of a second) currently established laws of physics are not applicable.

In short: GOD is LIFE, outside of Him there is no life. If "something" exists, it means that it is "connected to God", that it has a "connection to God".

God "Creator" also means that he is the SUPREME and UNLIMITED POWER.

Further, "for God to be God", he must also be TRUTH and the SUPREME INTELLIGENCE (WISDOM). People also call him LIGHT – the light that dispels the darkness of the Universe and the darkness of ignorance and lies.

To be God, God must also be LIBERRATOR, HEALER, HARMONY and PEACE.

Is God only "energy" and "processes" in the Universe, or is he "someone", that is a PERSON?

If God is LOVE, he must be a PERSON. Only a person (someone) can love. Love is not an instinct or drive. Love is a FREE CHOICE. You have to decide to love, that is, to engage in a relationship with someone. Love is the gift of oneself, it is sharing oneself and what one has.

A PERSON is someone who has INTELLIGENCE, SELF-AWARENESS ("I know that I exist and I know who I am"), FREE WILL (love is a free choice to engage in a relationship with someone – for love "you have to decide on a relationship"), and the ability to act.

Of course, God would have these attributes to an unlimited degree – he is the Supreme Intelligence-Wisdom (All-Knowing), he is All-Free and he is Almighty. God is also a SPIRIT – he is immaterial, but real (like radiation – we cannot see it, but we can feel the effects), he permeates everything and nothing is hidden from him.

In summary, God is LIFE-CREATOR (Giver and Essence of Life), TRUTH-LIGHT, SUPREME INTELLIGENCE-WISDOM, he is ALMIGHTY, he is LIBERATOR (frees life from what limits it – including death, he frees you from your sick ego), he is HEALER, PEACE and HARMONY. God is a PERSON who LOVES. God is COMPASSIONATE, that is, he understands the situation you are in and what you are going through (what you feel).

Do you desire contact with such a God?

If you are a religious person and you believe in God, do you have the courage and want to get closer and open up to such a God?

If you are a religious person, then breathing meditation becomes a way for you to enter into living, real and tangible contact with God. Breathing meditation becomes PRAYER.



Note that the breath itself is very deeply symbolic. We can say that our adventure on earth outside of mother's womb begins with the first inhalation and our life ends with the last exhalation.

What is inhalation (breathe in)? What does it mean/symbolize?

Inhalation (BREATHE IN) is OPENING and WELCOMING. For the inhalation to be possible, at least the mouth or nose must be open. What are we inhaling? We inhale air, i.e. a mixture of gases, the solid components of which are nitrogen, oxygen and noble gases (or inert gases) such as argon and helium. For us, it is oxygen which is the most important. It is necessary for all physiological processes, including the regeneration of damaged tissues. Without oxygen, we will not get the energy necessary for life.

What else do we take in while INHALING (BRATHING IN)?

We receive a portion of oxygen necessary for biological life (this is experiential/tangible, it is measurable), but at the same time we receive - again and again, in an invisible but real way - the element of life. We can even say that with each inhalation we are created anew.

For believers in God, the gift of life is an expression of His love for you. With each inhalation, God confirms and justifies your existence -"justified", that is, "explains" why you exist: "You live, you exist, because I want you."

With every inhale, which is an exhale from God, He says YES to your existence. By giving you life in each breath, God is as if saying: "Live, I want you to exist. It is good that you exist."

From God we receive not only life, but also FORGIVENESS, DELIVERANCE, HEALING and PEACE.

And what do we give up while EXHALING (BRATHING OUT)?

We give up a gas mixture with an increased content of carbon dioxide and water vapour (we inhale 0.04% [zero dot zero four percent] and exhale 4% [four percent] of carbon dioxide). But is it only that? Along with exhalation, we not only "give up", but also ENTRUST OURSELVES. We entrust ourselves to the Mystery of Life – God/Ultimate Supreme Power, who is Love, who wanted us and who saves us from various life oppressions in which we ourselves got stuck. We ENTRUST ourselves, our relationships with others, our fear, our sense of hurt, our guilt/sin, our plans and hopes. We entrust OUR PAST, OUR "TODAY" (PRESENT), and OUR FUTURE. God is our FUTURE – He is "[Someone] who IS TO COME" (Rev 1:8; 4:8).

"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty." (NIV, Rev 1:8)

"Day and night they never stop saying: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come." (NIV, Rev 4:8)

And what does APNEA symbolize?

                                                                                                              RETURNING to the SOURCE …


Resting in God. "Returning to the Source" … Union with God.

"I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies" (NIV, Jn 11:25).

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. " (NIV, Jn 14:27)

 "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.  (7) He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. "  (NIV, Rev 21:6-7).

"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End."  (NIV, Rev 22:13).

STILLNESS of mind and heart. „STILL POINT”.

Apatheia (stgr. ἀπάθεια, apátheia, from 'lack' and páthos 'experience) – a state of dispassionateness, impassiveness.

HESYCHIA comes from the Greek, meaning stillness or tranquility.

But at the same time, apnea means "watching over", "waiting" for the next inhale (for the coming of the Lord, for his saving action, for the healing and transformation that He can bring about in us).

Therefore, "breath" plus "act of faith" equals "prayer" (encounter-relationship).

BREATH + ACT of FAITH = PAYER (encounter-relationship)

The act of faith is a reference to God, it is surrender to desire (level of the heart), but at the same time it is a choice/decision to engage in a personal relationship (act of will). No one can be coerced into a relationship. You have to decide on entering into a relationship, you have to open up and at least accept the love of the other person.

© WNsj

To be continued

*          *          *          *


If you make MY WORD your home you will indeed be my disciples;

                 you will come to know the truth, and the TRUTH will set you FREE

                 — The Gospel according to John 8:31-32 —

Nothing is so strong as gentleness,

                                                   nothing so gentle as real strength

                                              — Saint Francis de Sales —


           There are no shortcuts to any place worth going

                                                                                                                                — Helen Keller — 

Meditation with Father Seraphim

When you meditate be as a mountain
motionlessly settled in silence.
Its thoughts are rooted in eternity.
Do nothing, just sit, just be
and you will learn the fruits of prayer.

When you meditate be as a flower,
always facing the sun.
Its stem like a spine, always straight.
Remain open, ready to accept everything without fear,
and the light will always shine on your path.

When you meditate be as an ocean,
in its depths always unmoved.
Its waves come and go.
Remain calm inside
and evil thoughts will go away.

When you meditate remember about the breath.
Thanks to it, the man became a living thing.
The breath comes from God and returns to God.
Unite the prayer word with the stream of life
and nothing shall separate you from the Giver of Life.

When you meditate be as a bird,
singing ceaselessly in front of the Creator.
Its song raises like incense smoke.
Let your prayer be like dove’s cooing
And you shall not surrender to discouragement.

When you meditate be as Abraham
sacrificing his only son.
It was a sign that he was ready to give up everything.
Give up everything
and in this abandonment God will fill you with His presence.

When you meditate it is Jesus
who prays inside you to the Father in the Spirit
You are carried by the fire of His love.
Be as a river which serves everyone,
and the time will come when you become Love.            © John Bereza OSB



Conscious life begins with establishing contact with oneself and with reality. What do I really want? What am I searching for? The first sentence pronounced by Jesus and quoted in the Gospel of John reads: "What are you looking for?" In other words, Jesus begins the dialogue with man with a self-awareness test: "If you want to establish a relationship with me, if you want to be my disciple, examine your heart first and answer the question: What do you want out of life?" The desires that I discover inside myself are a kind of GPS that stimulates me to look for the fullness of life, what we commonly call happiness or fulfilment. These desires also become questions. Who am I? What is my deepest identity? What is the purpose and meaning of my life? Does my life end when I die? What lies behind the secret of the existence of the Universe, which is 13.4 billion years old, and what lies behind the secret of my existence in that Universe? My very existence is a question and life itself asks me some questions from which I cannot escape. Becoming aware of these questions/desires and starting to seek answers to them/seek fulfilment is the beginning of an authentic life.

Stay seated for 15 minutes, maybe even half an hour. Calm down. Make contact with yourself and your inner SELF and ask yourself: What do I want deep in my heart? What do I want out of life? What am I looking for? Feel, discover these desires in yourself. Also hear this question: What is life asking from me today?

All the desires we find in ourselves can be reduced to two basic ones. We want to enjoy life to the full, life free from suffering that never ends - that is life free from death. We also want to be loved with selfless and unconditional love. In short: we want to love and be loved. We want to be accepted and confirmed in our uniqueness only by the fact that we exist. We want to hear: "It's good that you exist – stay well and live a long/good/full life!" We are looking for confirmation and justification for our existence. Where do I come from? Why and what am I living for?  We also want to love, be important to someone, contribute to the lives of others, support their development. We want to go through life and live it with others. "No Man Is an Island" is the title of one of Thomas Merton's books. Man is a relational being. Our life has emerged from the relationship and is expressed in relationships. Focusing exclusively on yourself is a dead end that leads to radical loneliness - the "breath of death". In short: we want to love and be loved.

The search for the source of existence and love, that is the meaning of life - and even before that - the search for justification/"grounds" for one’s own coming to this world - is the way to find God. Not only do we want to live but we also want to discover/ get to know "why to live" and "what to live for"?

Canadian theologian, Jesuit, Bernard Lonergan defines religious experience as follows: "Religious experience at its roots is experience of an unconditional and unrestricted being in love.  But what we are in love with remains something that we have to find out."

No-one gave life to himself, and no-one invited himself to this world. Our parents only gave us life but they aren't its authors. Our mothers didn't direct our biological and psychological development when they were carrying us for nine months in their wombs. They only surrounded the miracle of life with love, to which life they opened in their parental/marital relationship. Since the dawn of my existence I have been a separate entity. The same genetic combination as each of us forms has never appeared in the universe before and will never happen again, even from the same parents. I am UNIQUE. There is no copy of myself. On the twenty-first day of my conception, my heart began to beat and it is beating continuously until now. Therefore, my life is a GIFT. Every day, every morning, every second I constantly find myself living, I receive a gift of life. I don't carry the source of life inside me, it beats outside of me. I don't even have power over a single heartbeat. What lies behind the secret of my existence?

Sit down again and calm down (spend at least 15 minutes on this exercise). Listen attentively to your breath. Feel your heartbeat. Feel the warmth of your body and experience the sensations that come from it. Try to "touch", "taste" LIFE that is constantly flowing in you, which is constantly coming to you, which is given to/"poured" into you. Some MYSTERIOUS POWER wants you to exist.

I assume that there are at least a few people who wish you well, who care about you. If not, I trust that you have met at least one person in your life for whom you were important, who enjoyed your presence, who supported you somehow. Man can mediate love but he is not LOVE himself. He himself needs love, just like a plant needs sun and water or like a car needs fuel. None of us is perfect in giving love. Everyone has experienced or is experiencing some deficits in offering love or in being loved. We have our weaknesses, we get tired, we are often clumsy. Is there anyone who can satisfy our need for love (being loved) to the end? Someone who never gets tired of loving us or gets disappointed with us? Someone who can bear our weaknesses, who helps us rise when we fall down? Someone who doesn't let us doubt ourselves and in the sense of life?

If there were no fulfilment of our desires, if there were no answers to the questions posed to us by life and the fact of our existence, we would be tragic human beings. We discover in ourselves a desire to live, love and have a meaning, as well as a desire for ... beauty, goodness and justice. Would an attempt to search for their fulfilment inevitably end in failure? Life would be absurd then. Or ... is it otherwise?           

 Step 2 God?

If there is a God, … who is He?  What would this MYSTERIOUS REALITY be, which in many modern languages we describe with a word consisting of only three letters: GOD (Gud (Danish/Norwegian), Dio (Italian), Бог (Russian/Serbian)). How does it even happen that the word "god" exists in our languages and we can reflect on this reality? Would we talk and think about something that doesn't exist and that does not concern us in any way? We may also ask differently: what conditions would this MYSTERIOUS REALITY have to fulfil so that we could call it god?

Referring to Step One, God would appear as the one from whom our existence emerges and who arouses in us desires (spiritual "GPS") which He Himself fulfils. Summing up his life, St. Augustine of Hippo wrote:

"You have made us for Yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in You" (Confessions)

God would also be the Cause and Principle of the existence of the Universe. The cause, i.e. the source from which we and the world  originate. And the principle - the power that keeps the world (and us) in existence. He would be the one behind the laws of physics, chemistry and biology in the Universe.

This is how Paul the Apostle spoke about God to Athenians on the Areopagus: "And indeed he is not far from any of us. Since it is in him that we live, and move, and exist" (Acts 17,17-28).

You created my inmost self,
knit me together in my mother's womb.
For so many marvels I thank you;  wonder am I,
and all your works are wonders.
You knew me through and through,
my being held no secrets from you,
when I was being formed in secret,
textured in the depths of the earth. (Ps. 139,13-15)

And in the Letter to the Colossians Paul would write about Christ-God: "He is the image of the unseen God, the first-born of all creation, for in him were created all things: in heaven and on earth, everything visible and everything invisible (…). All things were created through him and for him. He exists before all things and in him all things hold together." (Col 1,15-17)

In turn, John the Apostle begins the Gospel in such a way: "In the beginning was the Word (Greek: Logos): the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things came into being, not one thing came into being except through him. What has come into being in him was life, life that was the light of men; and light shines in darkness, and darkness could not overpower it." (J 1,1-5).

So if there is a god, He is the Creator of the Universe. He lies behind the secret of the existence of reality and each of us. Not only does He give life but He is also the essence-principle of life.  In short: God is LIFE.

What else could we say about Him? If He is a god, He is definitely infinitely superior to us by Intelligence-Wisdom and unlimited Power

In the Letter to the Romans, this is how St. Paul wrote about Him:
"How rich and deep are the wisdom and the knowledge of God!  We cannot reach to the root of his decisions or his ways. Who has ever known the mind of the Lord? Who has ever been his adviser? Who has given anything to him, so that his presents come only as a debt returned? Everything there comes from him and is caused by him and exists for him. To him be glory for ever! Amen" (Rom. 11,33-36).

God as the Mind embracing everything, being simultaneously the First Cause and the Supreme Being.

If the "reality" we think about was to be a god, He would also have to be the Truth ("Light"), Goodness, Beauty and Harmony which we can observe/contemplate on earth (in nature) and in space, as well as in the lives of some people who submit to Him.

We read in the Book of Wisdom: "Since through the grandeur and beauty of the creatures we may, by analogy, contemplate their Author" (Wis 13,5).

"It is God who, for his own generous purpose, gives you the intention and the powers to act." (Phil. 2,13)

One of the motives for which people begin to practice meditation is the search for peace and integration. Sometimes we experience confusion, we make bad choices, we make mistakes, we hurt others and ourselves. We suffer as a result of not coping with ourselves, with relationships and with life. Consequently, we need forgiveness and healing. We need reconciliation not only with others but also with ourselves. God would not only "justify" our existence (answering the question "Why do I exist?") but He would also raise us, renew our life, bring us back to our true selves.

God would be the one who frees us from the burden and guilt (forgiveness) and restores us to relationships with others, with the world and with ourselves (reconciliation). So God would appear as a RESCUER, LIBERATOR and DOCTOR. He would be the one who brings us peace that we cannot find in ourselves. Peace is both a gift and a fruit of forgiveness-reconciliation.

In Step One we realized that in addition to life we need love that justifies and confirms our existence. What would life be without love? If there is a God who responds to our desires, He must also be, and perhaps above all, LOVE - kind, compassionate PRESENCE that supports us.

Only "someone" (a person) can love. Love is not instinct, it is not drive, it is not shapeless energy. Love is a personal relationship - it is an act of will, commitment, compassion and responsibility. If there is a God, then He must be a PERSON. And a person is a separate existence ("YOU"), that is self-awareness, intelligence and free will. Therefore, contact with God would be a personal relationship - a meeting of two self-awarenesses, two intelligences, and two freedoms-loves. Love understood as reaching out to the other and a gift of oneself, being "with" and "for" the other.

And an important addition about "god". For "someone" to be eligible to be a god, he must be a SPIRIT. He is invisible but real. Just as real and possible to experience are life, love or radiation, although they remain invisible as such. This is well reflected in the metaphor of God as light - light enables seeing but remains invisible itself. Sometimes we see only sources of light.

In a conversation with a woman of Samaria, Jesus said: "But the hour is coming -- indeed is already here -- when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth: that is the kind of worshipper the Father seeks. God is spirit, and those who worship must worship in spirit and truth.»." (J 4,23-24).

Yahweh, you examine me and know me,
you know when I sit, when I rise,
you understand my thoughts from afar.
You watch when I walk or lie down,
you know every detail of my conduct. (Ps. 139,1-3)

Therefore, God would be a spirit embracing the entire Universe, and at the same time penetrating it, present everywhere. At the same time, He would be someone greater than this world, someone above the world - the Supreme Being, transcendent.

We have spoken so far about a hypothesis of God as an ANSWER to our deepest desires. We tried to describe it in human language, in philosophical terms. If there is a God, then ... every person must follow a personal path to meet Him and get to know Him.

"At the outset, the word god is simply three letters, having reference to that which is unknown, possibly unknowable and there stretches before us a long search during which this elusive concept develops from a meaningless cliché to the God who has called us by name and made us a people for himself" (Peter G. van Breemen, Called by Name).

The question arises whether this God has made Himself known in the history of mankind, whether He has revealed Himself, whether He has let man experience Himself? In Step Two, it is no coincidence that quotes from the Bible appeared because the Holy Scriptures are a human record of a meeting with God. Both the Scriptures is a fact and a group of people who have claimed for over three thousand years to meet God and still have contact with Him. Both getting to know the Scriptures and contact with this community (believers in God, the Church) can help us in a personal meeting and getting to know God, in establishing the "I - YOU" relationship with Him.

God of our ancestors, Lord of mercy,
who by your word have made the universe,
and in your wisdom have fitted human beings,
to rule the creatures that you have made,
to govern the world in holiness and saving justice
and in honesty of soul to dispense fair judgement,
grant me Wisdom, consort of your throne,
and do not reject me from the number of your children.
For I am your servant, son of your serving maid,
a feeble man, with little time to live,
with small understanding of justice and the laws.
Indeed, were anyone perfect among the sons of men,
if he lacked the Wisdom that comes from you, he would still count for nothing.  (Wis 9,1-6)

With you is Wisdom, she who knows your works,
she who was present when you made the world;
she understands what is pleasing in your eyes
and what agrees with your commandments.
Despatch her from the holy heavens,
send her forth from your throne of glory
to help me and to toil with me
and to toil with me and teach me what is pleasing to you;
since she knows and understands everything
she will guide me prudently in my actions
and will protect me with her glory. (Wis 9,9-11)

To be continued