I never thought I’d ever be typing a blog about meditation. For the majority of my life, I’ve been on “high definition,” unable to quiet my mind. Silence was uncomfortable. Being still gave me shame and made me feel like I was wasting time. I naturally would run through my to-do list whenever I tried to calm my body. So, I stumbled through life always feeling the need to be busy and productive.
Then my son came. Noise, busyness, and constantly being on the go put me on edge. I began to enjoy quiet and solitude. Being by myself didn’t bother me. Not in a “withdrawn” sort of way, but more of a “I need to recharge” sort of way. I craved time for myself, when I wasn’t attempting to simultaneously accomplish five things on my to-do list!
Our family is in the process of a second adoption, so I’ve been more reflective lately (how do we need to prepare, how can our family be better, what should we prepare for, etc). I’ve been feeling a “pull” of sorts, telling me to engage in silence and listen to the whispers of God. Also, our church is going through a commitment to Christ experience. My preacher sent me some information about the rule of life (also known as the covenant of life) where people can recommit to spiritual disciplines or general attitudes/behaviors that help one engage with God and His people.
I didn’t know what to do. In 2017, I studied spiritual disciplines and knew I wanted to dig deeper. The “pull” that I referenced told me that. I needed to engage in a discipline that would give me multiple opportunities to listen to God. While I knew that I enjoyed quiet and had gotten better about quieting my mind, I had always said I’d never engage in meditation. That was for those really important spiritual people. One of my faith mentors, Eric Wilson, spoke about meditation in some of our church training sessions, and I laughed at the thought of ever engaging in that discipline.
Never say never, right?! Meditation is way out of my comfort zone, but it’s REALLY hard to grow from a place of comfort. Over the past year, I’ve read more about meditation and silence. In Eric’s book Faith: The First Seven Lessons, he states,
“Silence requires us to see ourselves as we are. Doing without, whatever it might be, is uncomfortable, whether sitting in silence or denying our creature comforts.”
Scary, right? No one wants to REALLY see themselves as they are. That would mean we would have to realize how imperfect we are and how we need to change!
Richard Foster, in his book Celebration of Disciplines, references four types of meditation: meditation on scripture, “centering down” in silence, meditation on creation, and meditation on current events. I never knew meditation could serve so many functions. Shauna Niequist’s book Present Over Perfect talks about her journey in embracing silence, solitude, and the lectio divina (a slow, contemplative praying of the scriptures). In her book, she talks about how her commitment to a busy life stripped her of the beauty in silence, simplicity, and reflection with God. As her spiritual journey shifted, she felt more present with God and her family.
In my covenant of life, I committed to practicing meditation for a minimum of one hour a month. So far, I love it! I’ve been incorporating scripture, breath prayers, and yoga into my meditation time. My sister has been helpful in getting me started with yoga, and I have been searching out additional resources to enhance my meditation experience. I’ve already seen some spiritual growth in my sessions, and now I look forward to them!
Trying to figure out how you can get started?
- First, spend time with God to discern if meditation is what you need in this moment during your current life stage. I wasn’t ready for a long time!
- There is no “wrong way” to do it (in my opinion) as long as you are spending time focusing on God. Some people rest in his presence in quiet, while others listen to scripture or music and meditate on the words/message.
- Reach out to your faith community! Share your goals and ask for some accountability.
- If you want to practice yoga, either attend a class or read up on yoga. There’s lots of information out there, and the seasoned yogis could guide you into what is best for your yoga experience.
- Read literature about meditation and other “inward” disciplines. I didn’t realize there were so many disciplines to consider!
Blessings on your journey as you explore how to engage God better this year!