So, did you try it? Did you give meditation the ol’ college try? If you tried it after reading the blog, WAY TO GO! You are a person of action! Even if you felt unsure that you were meditating correctly, who cares! You tried it.
But meditation is not just a one-time experience.
Author Mary Jo Meadow of Christian Insight Meditation says,
“Through faithful practice of contemplation (meditation) an emptiness of self irresistibly invites God into our lives and frees us to receive God’s purifying and transforming love in meditation.”
Fitting Christ into your life isn’t just scheduling Him into your life once or twice a week at church, or Bible study, or only in prayer when you need something or have a problem.
While those things are VITAL for connecting to God, the one-on-one silence time of meditation is crucial.
Think about your spouse or your best friend, and imagine the only time you spend with them is in a group setting surrounded by people. Or the only time you talk with them is when you have a problem or want something.
You never allow your spouse or friend to talk to YOU and only you. You don’t provide them the time or silence that allows them to offer their help or guidance. That wouldn’t be a fulfilling relationship to your partner or buddy, and it’s cutting you off from receiving any help and fulfillment.
So it is with meditation and Christ. Yes, He wants you to attend church and Bible studies, and yes, He wants you to come to Him in prayer, but He wants some alone time with YOU. God wants you to listen, and it is in that silence where we meet Him. He needs a platform in which to answer those prayers, offer you peace, and let you feel His awesome power. Meditation is that platform.
Another reason to meditate
Read what St.Paul says in Romans, 12:2: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing, you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
As we renew our mind through meditation, Paul tells us we will discern what is the will of God.
Discern is defined as, “to come to know or recognize mentally” or “to detect with senses other than vision.”
In this case, we come to know the will of God by recognizing mentally and using other senses; by meditating!
God’s will and plan for your life awaits YOUR discernment in stillness and the present moment. So many people are missing this piece in their spiritual lives, are you?
In last week’s blog, I promised to offer some meditation troubleshooting tips. So as promised:
Troubleshooting for Quieting Your Mind
1. Physically remove your thoughts
Ok, so you found the place in which to meditate, but you are struggling with your concentration.
Become aware of what is in your thoughts right now. Are you thinking about your to-do list? Are you replaying a conversation or event that happened earlier in the day? Are you angry, upset, or worried?
Whatever it is, I want you to get a piece of paper and quickly write down what is consuming your thoughts. I’m not looking for grammatically correct or descriptive sentences. But as you do this, you are PHYSICALLY emptying your mind. You are transferring your thoughts from your mind to the paper.
2. Start with your breath
The first five minutes of my meditation is mostly spent on quieting the mind. And it all starts with my breathing. Try this:
Breath in for 4 seconds…hold the air in your lungs for 7 seconds…and breathe out for 8 seconds. Continue with the pattern: inhale for 4, hold for 7, exhale for 8.
While you are doing this, I want you to imagine that every time you exhale, all of your doubts, thoughts, worries, and events from the day are leaving your mind.
Literally see that with each exhale, your mind becomes like the night sky. It is blank, still, quiet, open, and expansive.
3. Redirect your thoughts
If you find your mind bunny trailing back to thoughts, focus back on your breath.
Put your attention on the oxygen filling your lungs, circulating through your body and feel the air pass through your mouth as you exhale. Focus on how it feels, the sound it makes, and pay attention to the rising and falling of your chest.
4. Is this really working?
Yes, it is!
The key here is FAITHFUL practice. As you are consistent in your meditation, you will see the results in a calmer mind, a purer heart, and a more loving conduct toward yourself and others.
But if you are going into this process with a mind weed of doubt, that doubt will block any spiritual connection.
I leave you with this quote from the book, Manifest Presence, written by Jack Hayford:
“We are invited to step through the open door and draw near to Father God so that something may transpire in us–to come and encounter Him in ways that engender the deepest workings of his spirit in our lives and prepare us for the next stage of what he wants to do through us.”
Coming in January, there will be an opportunity to get a sample of part 1 of CCWA’s Quiet Your Mind meditation/affirmation series. Stay connected with CCWA for details!