Finding a Rhythm For Spiritual Practice

Every community has a rhythm. A rhythm to rising from sleep, praying, eating, working, studying, eating, relaxing, and sleep.

As an outsider, you notice the rhythm. If you are of a sympathetic nature, you find yourself adapting your natural rhythms to those of the community. If you are more self-centered, you try to impose your rhythm or at least complain about the community’s.

Last week, I was with a small team working and growing at the Tijuana Christian Mission. The orphanage at Soler in Tijuana has its rhythm to which I just sort slipped into.

This is the home of the older children–junior and senior high–served by the mission. They rise before 5 am. Martha, the founder of the orphanage who is in her 70s, is up with them. She leads a Bible study at 5:40 for about a half hour. They eat and are in vans on the way to various schools by 7.

I slipped gently into their routine, since my normal rhythm is to rise around 5:30, study, mediatate and pray. Then have a small breakfast. 

My adjustments were small. Breakfast was prepared for me by Karla and Alma. It was much larger than I’m accustomed to. It was not extravagent. Healthy and prepared by loving hands. And there was no place for a motning run. But work replaced that.

I recently heard Nancy Ortberg talk about the rhythm of spiritual practice. As someone trained as a percussionist, I immediately adopted that metaphor. 

Have you found a rhythm to your practice? Is it a hard-driving on-beat like The Beatles? Moving like a Mozart sonata? Or discordant like a work by John Cage?

In this case, I prefer Mozart.

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