Sunday marked the end of our Enneagram series during Lent. To close out this journey we thought it would be great to dive into the prayer practices that disrupt our habits & lead us back to health. We wanted Sunday to reflect the idea that our friend Aaron Niequist articulates that church should be "more of a spiritual gymnasium than classroom". We wanted to practice praying together rather than just hearing about it.
That being said these were not our ideas. We've been borrowing heavily from Christopher L. Heuertz's book "The Sacred Enneagram" during this series & his ideas were central to our practices on Sunday morning.
We decided to walk through 3 practices that were related to each of the intelligence centers. See the chart below for specifics of each type.
The first practice we dived into was chosen primarily for the Thinking/Head center, 5-7s. This practice originates with Julia Cameron, author of "The Artist's Way" & as one author writes they're designed to "unlock a lot of the chains of my mind and open up the dam so that creativity can flow".
You can read more about the how to do them here but it's not that hard. Just write, dust out the cobwebs & settle your mind for the day.
Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing,
done first thing in the morning. *There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages*–
they are not high art. They are not even “writing.” They are about
anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes
only. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and
synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put
three pages of anything on the page...and then do three more pages tomorrow.
The second practice was chosen primarily for the Instinctive/Body center, 8-1s. We introduced this very simple practice of a prayer labyrinth back in 2016. You can read about it & download the labyrinth here.
Walking a labyrinth with your feet or your finger, as you can do here, is meant to be a meditative practice to draw you into the mystery of God, to a place beyond words, images or other mental content.
Our third & final practice was for the Feeling/Heart center 2-4s & was facilitated by community member Theresa Elwell. You'll have to listen back to the service to fully experience what she walked us through but here's an excerpt from the practice she led us through the week before to get a taste:
First, just drop into your breathing… noticing your inhale and your exhale….
Now bring your awareness to your heart area, noticing any feeling or sensations there…
I invite you to allow these words into your heart….
gently and quietly reciting them to yourself if that’s comfortable for you.
I am imperfect, and I am worthy of Love.
I am flawed, and I am worthy of Grace.
I love and accept myself just as I am.
Breathe into the Divine Spirit that lives within you.
Breathe into this energy.
Breathe into this power.
… and give thanks.
When faced with the next challenge or struggle, we can practice
coming back to our centers,
back to our hearts,
and remember that we are loved.
Here's the full service for you to experience or relive these practices: