Summary: This sermon looks at how prayer and meditation can help us connect with the Kingdom of God and change our lives.
One of the most pervasive feelings in modern society is alienation. We are alienated from our work and from each other by our fast paced lifestyle and focus on success. However, no matter how much connection we have with other people and to our work, the deep feeling of alienation will not be relieved until we are able to connect with the Kingdom of God within us. Leo Tolstoy spent most of his old age writing a book called, "The Kingdom of God is Within You" and Gandhi said that this was the book that most influenced his view of religion and ethics. In it, Tolstoy describes the potential in each of us to connect directly with God through prayer and meditation.
As Paul said, God is Love. In my experience, the most direct way to connect with God is through a meditation on infinite love. To begin, find an image that inspires uncomplicated and unambivalent love in you. It might be a baby, an animal or a religious figure. Once you have that image, concentrate on it and notice the feeling of love grow in your body. You can repeat the phrases, "May you be happy. May you be safe. May you be loved." to help deepen into the experience.
Once you are feeling a deep sense of love, begin directing your love toward different people who you already love. Then continue the progression sending love to yourself, to someone you don’t really know, and finally to someone who has caused you suffering. If at any point, you find it difficult to love, then go back and send more to yourself. Once you go through this progression, begin sending love to all of creation.
As you progress through these stages, your love is becoming more and more like God’s love and you will feel a tangible connection.