How is it with your soul? Are you attending to your spiritual practices that nurture your relationship with God on a daily basis? Is your quiet meditation time with God allowing the Holy Spirit to engage with you through scripture reading? Is it prayerful conversation throughout the day with God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit?
Meditation and contemplation have become mainstream, but mostly the advice is secular and opposite of the Christian meditation experience. Consider these parallel examples of where secular meditation differs from Christ centered meditation:
- Emptying of one’s mind vs. the emptying of one’s personal tendency to selfishness (dying to self*) or the things of the world that are binding us to our selfishness. St. Ignatius says, “God is free to empty us of all that holds us back in this world to draw us completely into the Trinity.”
- Letting your thoughts go vs. your thoughts attentive toward God (Behold the Lamb of God!). St. Augustine taught that if you want to find God, you abandon yourself to the exterior world and re-enter into yourself, but do not remain in yourself – go beyond yourself because you are not God; he is deeper and greater than you!
- Disconnecting yourself with reality (vegging out) vs. grasping the divine reality in the human figure of Jesus, eternal God enfleshed and revealing himself and if God so wishes, grace you with a particular experience of “union”.
As you think about your meditation practice, enter it with a celebratory spirit, that you are in harmony with God and His creation, resting from all the pre-occupations of daily life and distractions. It does take effort to carve out that meditation time and create places to be at rest.
This stillness is not useless! Yes, it may appear to be unnerving to be alone with our thoughts at times, but with God, He is the one who puts us at peace with ourselves. The fruit of being still and knowing He is God is the effect it has on our souls.
Christian meditation is resting the mind and body without shutting down the rest of us, but is open to listening and hearing what is Real and True. Not giving in to what distracts us but reflecting on the reality God is trying to reveal to us through meditation and contemplation.
* The following scriptures are relevant to dying to self: Gal. 2:20, Eph. 4:22-24, Phil. 3:8, Col. 3:5, Luke 9:23, John 12:24, Luke 9:23-24, Rom. 12:1-2, 1Pet. 4:1-2, Gal. 5:24, Rom. 6:6-8, 11-14, Rom. 8:12-13, John 3:30, Titus 2:12, Luke 14:33, Matt. 10:38
Consider the folding Prayer Bench to enhance your meditation practice!