Use this exercise to ground yourself each time you enter the cathedral, or when you need to refocus.
Focus on your feet and the stones on which they rest. These brown limestones were extracted from the earth just 5.5 (9.3 kilometers) miles from the cathedral in Berchères-Les-Pierres. This limestone actually hardens with age, Since being laid in the floor seven centuries ago, it has supported the feet and bodies of countless pilgrims, just as it is supporting you. As you touch this stone, as this stone touches you, you are connected to a long history of faith and pilgrimage.
Out of this sense of being connected to the ground below you, let your attention wander to what is surrounding you. Let your attention be pulled by what is attracting you. Don’t analyze; just appreciate.
Allow your gaze to rise until you are looking at the ceiling. It is about 122 feet (37 meters) above. What are you noticing? What are you seeing for the first time?
Bring your attention back to yourself and if it feels right, close your eyes. Notice how your body-self feels in this space. What sensations are you aware of? What memories are rising? What else is happening within?
Look to God
Reflect on these words written by the poet Rumi (1207-1273) in the same century that the Chartres Cathedral was built:
There is a candle in your heart, ready to be kindled.
There is a void in your soul, ready to be filled.
You feel it, don’t you?
You feel the separation from the Beloved.
Invite [the Beloved] to fill you up, embrace the fire.
Remind those who tell you otherwise that
Love comes to you of its own accord…
From: Hush: Don’t Say Anything to God. Passionate Poems by Rumi. Shahram Shiva. Jain, 2000.
Or, if you prefer, meditate on the New Testament text from James 4:8 (NRSV):
Draw near to God, and God will draw near to you.