Sensing Our Way Back to God

By Stephanie Gretchen Burgevin. Stephanie is a writer and retreat leader. She is an associate faculty member of Shalem and a graduate of their Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups and Retreats Program and leads spiritual and secular programs. Stephanie manages Shalem’s blog. You can see more of her writing at

2014-03-23 17.36.11I’m guessing we’ve all experienced this at some point, where we find we have gotten to that place where we don’t connect to God as much as we’d like to. Perhaps we don’t feel like we’re connecting at all. We may know on some level that Spirit is there waiting for us, calling to us, but we might not know where the doorknob is in order to open the door we’ve created. So what do you do when you’re in that place? How do you get back?

I find that it’s kind of like when I wake up at 3 a.m. and I can’t fall back asleep. I try a whole litany of things to slow down so I can fall asleep: breathing techniques, mantras, meditation, putting a pillow over my head (!), anything to help me get back to that place where I let go.

When I’m awake I try going for a walk, being out in nature, that almost always brings me back to my spiritual core, especially on a sunny day. We’ve had so much cold weather and snow that at this point 50 degrees and sunshine feels like heaven. Sometimes I try extended yoga or qi gong to get back into my body and in sync with Spirit, to surpass my mind. It always seems easier that way. When my mind has set up a barrier between me and that constant sense of the Holy, my body knows the way home.

Trusting our bodies and using our senses is a wonderful way to get back to one’s spiritual center. I recently started a practice of mouth breathing where I inhale and exhale with my mouth slightly open (the way some animals do to sense their surroundings). Somehow doing this breathing through my mouth helps me to feel the aliveness of my surroundings. This brings me right back to sensing God.

What’s your experience? How do you get back to your soul’s center? It would be great to hear other techniques since I’m sure we could all use them!

March 03, 2014 by Shalem Institute 6 Comments
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10 years ago

If it’s during the day and I’m feeling off center and scattered I stop what I’m doing and find a quiet place to just ‘sit’. I try to notice how my body is feeling. Slowly a calmness takes over and I’m able to be present.

10 years ago
Reply to  Claire

Thank you, Claire. What great advice for reconnecting.

10 years ago

I play the piano and worship that way. It always brings me into His presence in an unforgettable way. I play as if He is the only One listening…and He usually is.
However, I love your article! You hit the nail on the head; sometimes, we just can’t get there easily and quickly. Nature and beauty are, for me, a great solution to the problem.

10 years ago
Reply to  mnlady54

What a lovely way to get back to center, playing piano! Thank you!

Clare Gnecco
10 years ago

These feelings invariably pop up during the late night hours. I have rapidly progressing Parkison’s disease as well as an autoimmune condition. When the pain gets bad and symptoms worsen. I have prayed for guidance, that the Lord will accept my suffering to lessen that of others and, when the disease is overwhelming, I have prayed for death. The last is really not a prayer at all, just a selfish child throwing a tantrum. These ‘prayers ‘ induce a profound sensation of emptiness; I feel like the only creature in a boundless universe, bereft of hope. At these times I can’t pray or do contemplative meditation. I can’t even do spiritual readings. At such times I go to a quiet place (nature, sitting with my special cat asleep on my lap) and take an inventory of how I have offended Him – how I managed to fall off my path again. The answer comes to me. “You are saying those ‘Me’ prayers again.” It was such an easy thing for us to fall into. So many ‘religious’ people do this all their lives and when the end is near they find no consolation, only unspeakable loneliness.
– Namaste

10 years ago
Reply to  Clare Gnecco

I am so grateful for your candid, thoughtful, and heart-felt response. I pray that you will be surrounded and uplifted by Love.


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