Devotional imaged have great power to inspire us when we pray. This exercise suggests some ways in which you might relate to an icon, statuette or painting – example, a picture of Jesus or the Virgin Mary, or a figurine of the Buddha or a Hindu god such as Shiva.
1. Place the image or figure on a table and sit upright in front of it. You might like to light a candle before it. Sit quietly and breathe deeply. Let your mind become still.
2. Contemplate the image or statuette. Open yourself to the spiritual influence of the figure – the selfless love of Jesus, the serenity of the Buddha or the universal energy of Shiva. Most lovers like to look at the beauty their beloved – focus on the beauty of these qualities.
3. Look particularly at the eyes, which will always have a special concentration of energy. Imagine your inner being opening to the gaze of these eyes.
4. Imagine divine light lowing from these eyes into you, merging with the light of your own inner self. Love, wisdom, fortitude, power, patience – whatever qualities you associate with the image of the divine are within your grasp. You can call on them when you need them.
5. Humbly dedicate yourself to the divine light. Imagine yourself its instrument as you go about your daily life. The light shines in you . Let it flow to others.
A Practical Guide to Faith and Inspiration by Marcus Braybrooke