Seekers are often advised to practice the presence of God but only rarely given specific advice on how to do so. When concepts are too vague it is hard to put them into practice. Maybe these practices can help blow away some of the fog.
1) Carry on a continuous inner conversation. The parents of a friend of ours were missionaries and knew the great soul Frank Laubach, author of Letters of a Modern Mystic. They told of a time when a group of ministers were gathered for lunch where Frank was asked to do the blessing. They said it was the most remarkable prayer they had ever heard – he just started to reveal out loud the inner conversation he was already having with Jesus. They all felt enormously grateful to be given a glimpse of something so deep and intimate. We, too, can develop this habit. Play the “game of minutes” that Frank suggests. See how many different minutes of each day you can remember God even if just for a second. It is helpful to know that mind can be trained to perform any habit you want, good or bad.
2) Be a Channel. There are 8 aspects of God – light, sound, power, love, calmness, peace, joy, and wisdom. Master defined meditation as deep concentration on God or one of these aspects. For this purpose concentrate on just one each day. Take love as an example. See how many time each day you can express God’s love or kindness or compassion. Yogacharya Oliver Black always maintained a “bubble of joy” around himself. A shopkeeper in Los Angeles told us she saw an aura of light surrounding Swami Kriyananda when he walked down the street. When you are a channel for any of these qualities, you are in His presence.
3) Do Japa. Take a chant that is dear to you and repeat it a certain number of times each day. Some people like to count their repetitions on a mala, others like to add up the minutes they spend chanting. The key is to have a goal each day, not unlike the popular practice of trying to walk 10,000 steps. Having a specific goal helps focus the mind and will. After the habit is firmly established, you can be more relaxed about counting.
The common element in these three practices is that you can quantify them at then end of the day and see how you did. I’ve never been obsessive enough to actually count up numbers, but having a general sense of “how much” or “how many” helps take the vagueness out of my efforts.
The important thing is to keep turning the mind back towards the Divine. As Paramhansa Yogananda put it in his beautiful poem, God, God, God, “No matter where I go, the spotlight of my mind will ever keep turning on Thee; and in the battle din of activity, my silent war-cry will be: God, God, God.”
In remembrance of Him,