What immediately comes to mind when you hear the word “meditation?” Do you associate it with eastern religions- something non-believers practice, or something those “weird tree huggers” do in a yoga class? Do you consider prayer only for Christians, and meditation for other religions.
Maybe you are unsure of what meditation is, how to do it, or what’s the purpose of meditation. If you are nodding your head yes to some or all of those questions, I was just as confused. Until recently, those were some of my mind weeds about “meditation.”
Look at this verse in Psalm 119:55-56: I meditate on your name all night, God, treasuring your revelation, O God.
This is where I see the difference between prayer and meditation.
Prayer is man talking to God. Meditation is where the Holy Spirit talks to man.
Prayer is where we go to specifically ask our Father the desires of our heart. He wants to
hear them. Prayer is where we talk to God about our troubles, problems in life. He wants to hear those too! He loves us so much and wants us to talk with him. We ask, vent, complain, cry, plead, but we never stick around for his revelations, or answers.
It’s like going to the doctor because you are sick and explain what’s wrong with you. You give all the details about your symptoms, pain and concerns. Then when you’re done talking you stand up and say, “Ok, thank you!” and you walk out. You don’t wait to hear what the doctor recommends or her solutions to your problems.
Meditation is the empty space we make available for the Holy Spirit so we can receive guidance and answers. When we meditate, God reveals himself to us, like it said in Psalms.
Why I meditate, and why you should too
I’ve always prayed, but meditation? Not for me, meditation was not taught in Sunday School. But two years ago I thought I’d try this meditation business I kept reading about and see if it really works.
All I can say is HOLY HEAVENS! I sure wish I knew about this five, ten or even 15 years ago.
For me, meditation is another way to plug in to God’s power and wisdom. I literally imagine I’m the end of a lamp cord and God is the wall socket. If I don’t plug the cord into the socket, I’m not receiving any electricity and the lamp won’t turn on. It’ll stay dark. So it is with meditation: If I’m not plugged in to God, if I’m not opening my mind up and inviting God to enter, I don’t access His power and guidance- I’m left in the dark; my soul isn’t turned on.
Prayer AND meditation is inviting God into activity in your world. The Holy Spirit is a problem-solver, the creative team member in your life! Have you been missing out on this power source?
3 ways to prepare for meditation
1. Choose the best time, location and position
Time: Reflect on your daily schedule. What time of day do you have the least possibility of distractions from people (kids, spouse, coworkers, etc..)? Try to get in the habit of committing that time for your holy spiritual connection.
Location: I meditate in a variety of locations. Most of the time I meditate in my dark bedroom. But many times I meditate outside in nature. During my time as an elementary school teacher, there were occasions when I would meditate in my car before going into work. Wherever you choose, make sure you are able to be alone.
Position: Once you’ve chosen your spot, make sure you are in a comfortable position. If you are physically uncomfortable your thoughts will zero in on the pain. I meditate in a variety of positions: anything from lying on my bed, sitting on a park bench outside, or sitting cross-legged on a floor.
2. Silence the Outside World (this is key for anyone who suffers from ADD)
Mother Theresa of Calcutta has quoted, “We cannot find God in noise and agitation. Nature: trees, flowers, and grass grow in silence. The stars, the moon, and the sun move in silence.” It is in our mental and physical silence where growth happens!!
So turn off the TV, the cell phones, the iPads, and the radio.- find a quiet space and don’t allow yourself to be constantly interrupted.
3. Like a teacher says to a student, “PAY ATTENTION!”
Be courteous and give the Holy Spirit your full attention by quieting your mind and emptying your thoughts. In one of my previous blogs, I wrote about being present. It is imperative that you are present during meditation. That means your thoughts are NOT on your to-do list. You are NOT replaying past moments, or worrying about imagined problems.
Meditation is not something that is passive. This is something that is active, and is a HUGE part in developing and maintaining a personal relationship with Christ through the Holy Spirit.
Now this blog is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to meditation. Keep an eye out for next week’s blog, part 2 of meditation. We will provide trouble-shooting tips and some strategies to use for quieting and centering your mind.
Now I’m alert to God’s ways. I don’t take God for granted- Psalm 18:21