Starting to meditate
Christian meditation is unlike eastern meditation, which is becoming popular. Whereas eastern meditation is more about emptying one’s mind, Christian meditation is about filling oneself with the word of God. It is a time when we can refocus our attention on Jesus and start to realign our thoughts with Christ’s.
I remember when I first thought about doing meditation, I decided against it. My attention wanders and I’m very bad at doing tasks that I think of as ‘mundane’, which is why when I tackled the washing up today I discovered a couple of mouldy bowls.
Still, let’s start small. I guess it’s a little like flexing an arm muscle you don’t often use? You don’t want to start using said muscle to lift weights that are too heavy; rather you build the muscle up. Equally, when you’re starting to meditate I suggest start small. Begin with meditating for ten minutes a day on a verse.
Please remember, though, meditation isn’t something you need to do in order for God to love you or view you as acceptable. Rather, meditation is a means of helping us to fill our minds with thoughts that are Christ-centred and to replace the rubbish in our noggins with substance that is good and blessed.
It’d be interesting to know your experiences with regards to meditation. If you wanted to write a sentence each day about your daily meditation experience over the following week and then post it below, that would be great. It might encourage future readers of this blog or your future self. The following is my experience of meditating for seven days:
Was tricky to concentrate and thoughts wandered throughout. I whispered ‘ma-ra-na-tha’ (‘Come, Lord’, Aramaic from Jesus’ time) over and over again, try to focus on that. I kept looking at the time, until I felt being asked whether this was about ‘filling ten minutes’ or ‘getting closer to God’.
For some reason, today I am very tired. Consequently, found meditation pretty hard, so I swapped between ‘Shalom’ (‘Peace’) and ‘maranatha’. Sadly, it was more about ‘filling ten minutes’ today.
(NOTE: After coming across a website called bible.org, I’ve decided to not repeat the word ‘Shalom’ or ‘maranatha’ over and over again but to mull and chew on words that reflect God, or just to listen to worship music, ditch the frustrations and confusions within me and take in the truth about God found in the lyrics.)
Today, when it came to meditation and clearing the rubbish from my mind, I reflected over the first half of Psalm 43:3 (New Living Translation):
Send out your light and your truth;
let them guide me.
A couple of hours prior to the meditation, I felt like I’d wasted my day and had self-imploded. However, during the meditation (even though it was done walking to my mate’s) I felt invigorated. I confessed my mistakes to God and then mulled over what the ‘truth’ and ‘light’ of God are: love, justice, forgiveness, mercy, patience were the five words that came to mind.
This morning, I was late to church. There’s nothing new there, and I don’t recommend getting into that habit… Anyway, on my walk I remembered how much joy and satisfaction I now receive from concentrating on meditation: on mulling over a couple of words that reflect more of God and less of me. So, I reflected on the way God is ‘truth’ and ‘light’. It was truly refreshing and was such a strong and fresh way to start the day.
After a long and tiring day, including a confusing outing with a wonderful lady, and a session at a fitness club (which felt like mild torture for an hour), I decided to spend five minutes listening to the song above before reflecting on God’s grace for five minutes. It was peaceful and refreshing just mulling over how loving God is.
Today, I didn’t meditate. After yesterday’s hard work at the fitness club followed by a late night and this morning’s forced early start, I was exhausted today. Consequently, I failed to meditate. I attempted to do so a couple of times but just couldn’t concentrate.
I’m experiencing the negative effects of not spending time with God and being too tired to do anything properly. Consequently, it’s been a struggle with old habits but I managed to eventually meditate, spending five minutes clearing my mind of negative thoughts and then the following five minutes thinking on the following:
Psalm 46:1 (New Living Translation)
God is our refuge and strength,
always ready to help in times of trouble.
This will be something that I will need to think and contemplate about further. I wasn’t fully alert to really take in the meditation but it has given me a fresh resolve, one that’s not from me.
After a week of starting to meditate and noticing the effect of not spending time with God yesterday, I shall continue to learn to meditate and try to form it into a habit.
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