Editor’s Note: Contributor Christine Moughamian is blogging each day of Lent about her progress becoming “one brave Christian.” Follow her experiment on Twitter @1bravechristian.
10:30 p.m. Tuesday (Feb. 21)
I go to bed excited to begin my “One Brave Christian Experiment.” I call Silent Unity, our 24/7 telephone prayer service.
First, I offer blessings of gratitude for answered prayer. Second, I ask for a prayer of support for my Lent experiment. Then, I turn off my cell phone, smile in the dark and wait for sleep.
And wait. And wait some more.
Words scroll by, at the edge of consciousness.
“Christian… Christ-ian… put Christ back in Christian… Christine…”
Strange, I was raised in a non-religious family; yet given a name which means “anointed by Christ.” I wrote a poem titled “I am a Christian also,” and a Buddhist also and a Taoist and a Sufi. Yet, in observance of Lent this year, I challenge myself to be one brave Christian.
I wish I could fall asleep.
DAY ONE: Ash Wednesday (Feb. 22)
I get up, have a toasted waffle and a cup of hot linden tea, which usually makes me feel sleepy. But not now. “What if I go to sleep and don’t wake up at 5:30 a.m. for prayer and meditation?”
I can’t miss my first discipline.
I pick up my book, finish reading it right there, in my robe, standing at the counter in the kitchen, aided only by a flashlight. Maybe I’ll start feeling goosebumps and be inspired to write non-stop for 20 minutes, like Sam Teague. That’s how he created “The Ten Brave Christians experiment” in March 1965, from material he felt was practically “dictated” to him by God.
I go back to bed, hum “OM” in an effort to make myself sleep.
Similar to the Christian “Amen,” “OM” is the seed mantra from which all other sounds come. After they chant “OM,” it is not uncommon for people to hear a vibration within.
I often do, like the soft purring of a generator. But not tonight.
I chant “OM” because I believe it is but one of the thousand names of God. But it is not my sleep mantra. Not tonight.
I’m going upstairs to pray, meditate and write goals.
I will not miss my first discipline.
I strike a match to light the candle on my altar. But the match breaks. And so does my resolve to sit up for half an hour. Sam Teague did not say one had to be seated to pray and meditate.
Good. Draped in my robe, I grab my yoga relaxation blanket, my Krishna meditation pillow and lie down on the carpet.
I haven’t received Sam Teague’s practice booklet in the mail yet. So I don’t know the first scripture to meditate on. The question “Which scripture?” barely forms in my mind. The answer comes on its own.
“I am that I am.”
I internally repeat “I am that I am,” vaguely wonder what goal I could write down first (sleep?), then merge with the Presence, the Great I AM.
I wake up – so it is true, I did fall asleep – eventually. I wash up and put on my yoga clothes. Yoga is usually the first thing I do in the morning. But today, yoga can wait. First, I complete my diary entry. I clean up, then I’ll declutter my desk, my mind.
And prepare sacred ground.
Today is Ash Wednesday. My Lent experiment has begun.
What will I pray for, meditate on, set goals for? And what will you, on this first day of Lent?