Christian Contemplative Practices

Personal Spiritual Practice

We will engage in meditative and contemplative practices of the many branches of the Christian Faith throughout its history, into the present.   We focus each week on a contemplative from Christian history and engage in meditative prayer together.

Wednesdays from 5-6 PM (PT) via Zoom.

Led by Rev. Jim Burklo

The Mighty Power in Simple Breathwork [5 Minute Meditation]

silhouette of man sitting on grass field at daytime

When you’re beginning to practice meditation, often the biggest roadblock is “emptying” the mind. It is common to quit meditating all together, because no matter how hard you try, it seems impossible to stop random thoughts from popping into your head.

Often what happens is that someone will attempt to silence their thoughts, random thoughts come, and then that person will start to judge themselves for not being able to meditate “correctly.” Then, instead of freedom from attachment, they are fully attached to thoughts of “I just can’t do it!”

There is a cycle that happens here that we must find a way to break!

How do we break that cycle?


Instead of focusing on whether or not you’re “doing it right” shift your attention to your breath. The rhythmic pattern of inhaling and exhaling has an effect on your mind similar to the effect a lullaby might have on a fussy infant. We are simply calming everything down: our bodies, our thoughts, our worries, etc.

Scientists are now just beginning to understand some of the marvelous benefits of breath control. According to The New York Times:

“Studies have found…that breathing practices can help reduce symptoms associated with anxiety, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and attention deficit disorder.”

Breathe. Exhale. Repeat: The Benefits of Controlled Breathing, By Lesley Alderman, NY Times, Nov. 9, 2016

The “Just Breathe” Method

This 5 Minute Meditation Method allows us to practice using our breath to still our minds.

Meditation for beginners steps

Step By Step Instructions

  1. Find a quiet place
  2. Pick an object in the room
  3. Imagine a connected tube supplying oxygen, and inhale deeply
  4. Pause at the end of your inhale
  5. Let out the breath and send the air back through the imaginary tube toward the object
  6. Repeat until you feel like you’re in a rhythm
  7. Close your eyes and repeat the same breath pattern until you feel calm and relaxed

Instructional Video

During a recent webinar, Curtis Lee Rodgers walks attendees through the “Just Breathe” Method


  • Pretending that air is flowing through a tube allows you to blend the use of your imagination with the reality of the physical object in the room.
  • Your breath becomes the connection between the two realms of imagination and reality.
  • Imagination is what fuels or creative processes. When we need inspiration we can draw upon our creative mind.
  • Focusing on the physical objectgrounds” us in the natural world or “reality.”
  • The flow from imagination to physical reality can provide inspiration when we need a creative boost.
  • The flow from physical reality to our imagination can help us make peace with an obstacle or issue we face.


What appears, on the surface, as a simple exercise actually has deeper implications.

Mastering the “gap” between “what is” (or our reality) and “what can be” (or our imagination) allows us to participate in the natural flow of consciousness.

Too often we wait for things to happen and then merely have a reaction. A life of spiritual practice, even a simple one like the meditation method mentioned in this post, allows us to break the habit of reaction and live purposely.

Learning how to harness and direct our thoughts cleans up all the mental junk we accumulate and allows us to create more, love more and envision a better existence for ourselves and our world.

Related Articles

Meditation for Beginners [How to start in only five minutes!]

aged ancient asian buddhism

When first beginning to explore meditation, it can be very difficult to figure out how to get started. We often want to jump straight into becoming a meditation master!

Many of us lack the ability or the time to spend hours in deep states of consciousness. This series of posts seeks to explore beginning meditation methods. Some of the methods shared will only require 5 minutes!

aged ancient asian buddhism

The key is to allow yourself to try! No one will become a meditation expert overnight, but trying a simple 5 minute exercise can help to build important focus and relaxation skills. These small skills can lead to a more satisfying spiritual practice.

What are the benefits of this method?

This practice can help begin to clear the “clutter” from your mind. If you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious or burdened about something in your life, this meditation method helps to clear away other distractions and “make peace” with the concern you have.

Five Minute Meditation #1: The Paper Method

Quick Reference Slide

Instructions for Five Minute Meditation

  1. Find a quiet place
  2. Write down a concern, source of anxiety, goal or something else that is on your mind.
  3. Spend the next 1-2 minutes staring at the words on the paper.
  4. Close your eyes.
  5. Begin folding the paper over and over again until it won’t fold any longer. Some people have found it more satisfying to rip the piece of paper into smaller and smaller pieces instead of using the folding method. Feel free to use whichever method works best for you.

The physical act of folding or tearing the paper gives you a chance to “make peace” with the source of your anxiety or concern. We are tying a physical act to the thought. We are quite literally “pushing away” harmful thoughts.

You may notice a sense of relief right away or you may not notice anything at all. Like anything else, it takes time to develop an effective spiritual practice. The important thing is you’ve taken the first step!

Shredder, Crushed, Paper, Flakes, Paper Strip, Shredded

Things to note:

  • If you have a busy chaotic environment, do the best you can to get away. You may try sneaking off to the bathroom, garage or outside to a nearby park.
  • When staring at the word on the piece of paper, let thoughts come, but don’t obsess over them. Treat them as a stranger who just walked past you on the street, give a polite nod and then move on.
  • When you have finished fold or tearing your paper, give yourself a moment to collect yourself and take a deep breath before returning to the buzz of life.

Watch the Video!

Other Meditation Resources

Guided Meditations Group

Each Thursday evening for 20 to 30 minutes Rev. Susan Brecht leads a guided meditation, followed by a short time of sharing. The meditations draw from Christian, Buddhist, and Inter-spiritual traditions i.e. Loving Kindness Meditations, Tonglen, Relaxation Meditation, Examen, Lectio Divina, Centering Prayer and meditations focused on themes of Gratitude, Peace and Love. 

All are welcome to join us on ZOOM. 

Embrace Life Project

Former Pastor, Curtis Lee Rodgers lead a 4 week webinar series all about learning how to use spiritual practice in order to live a more fulfilling life. Webinar #2, in particular, deals with the three main types of spiritual practice and gives practical examples and tips.
Watch the entire webinar below, just click play!

Guided Meditations

Thursday Evenings at 8 p.m. on ZOOM

I think of God as a Presence that I can be in relationship with, one that I can draw wisdom from, who guides me, and fills me with peace and love. The spiritual practice of meditation helps bring me into that presence. Meditation reduces stress, cultivates a sense of inner peace, helps us to find clarity of purpose, and can produce healing, as some in our medical profession have been finding out.

Each Thursday evening for 20 to 30 minutes I lead a guided meditation, followed by a short time of sharing. The meditations draw from Christian, Buddhist, and Inter-spiritual traditions i.e. Loving Kindness Meditations, Tonglen, Relaxation Meditation, Examen, Lectio Divina, Centering Prayer and meditations focused on themes of Gratitude, Peace and Love. 

All are welcome to join us on ZOOM. Just fill out the contact form below, and I will send you the link to join. 

Finding peace during these challenging times. 

Susan Brecht

Meditation Group Inquiry

Meditation Group Inquiry

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