The Spiritual Disciplines – The Inward Discipline of Meditation
The modern adversaries are; noise; hurry and crowds, they keep us busy, busy, busy! Psychiatrist CG Jung remarked; “Hurry is not of the Devil, it is the Devil!” if we hope to move beyond the superficiality of our culture we must be willing to slow down and enter into recreating silence, into the inner world of contemplation.
There was a time when the mystics were revered for their wisdom and faith through their reclusiveness. We need not be reclusive but we definitely need to slow down and be still before God. Unfortunately meditation is a foreign concept to many and it is even avoided as something belonging to other religions and philosophies. Biblically clearly this is not the case, Peter’s whole direction of ministry was severely challenged and ultimately changed through the vision of many animals been lowered down on a bed sheet, in Acts 10, as he was meditating and praying.
So firstly, let’s look at what meditation is not:
- Not a connecting with strange spirits
- Not an out of body experience – astral travel.
- Not an emptying on oneself through repetitive repetition of a mantra – detachment!
- Not something that should be entered into lightly – dealing with what is at the very centre of all life.
- Not a quick fix
Let’s now look at what Christian meditation is; one of the most often asked question is ‘why don’t I hear God speak to me?’ Another is ‘I don’t know what God wants me to do?’
Meditation answers these questions:
- Desiring to hear the voice of the living God. Frederick Faber wrote; ‘Only to sit and think of God, what a joy it is.’
- Desiring God’s presence. Entering fully into the relationship or covenant that God offers us.
- Being filled with the presence of God!
No wonder some are scared to meditate, as it boldly calls us into the presence of the living God – even Isaiah was afraid! But when we do ….
How to meditate;
- Time is very important.
- Venue must be quiet; inspiring; accommodating (time available);
- Physical planning – writing materials; bible; focal points; comfort; read up about it.
- Spiritual planning – becoming quiet – being aware of self – connecting with God.
- Just start – something we learn as we go – not so easy to learn from a book.
- Listen – with imagination or dreams more than physically.
- Specific exercises; palms up and palms down; breathing – inhale and exhale; enter a biblical story; use a mantra to focus and guide.
An amazing journey to our beginning and our end! Not easy to start, it takes time to get things right. Moments of insight that will blow your world open and drive you to come back for more. Easy for some not so for others! I encourage all to exercise this means of grace available to each of us.