The word meditation, like the word "love," has so many meanings that sometimes there's confusion about what the word means. Just as we use the word love for everything from ice cream to a person, so too we used the word meditation for anything from yoga class to becoming a hermit with the Carthusians.
MEDITATION is a way TO FOCUS ON GOD's Love
When we talk about meditation in the classical Christian sense we are talking about opening ourselves to direct communication from God. That brings us to a second confusion: who's God? As Christians we believe that God is a person not a concept or thing. We believe that he is the creator of all things, including ourselves. We believe that he has loved us so much that he sent his only son to be with us and that his son gave his life for us. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the giver of life, who guides us to know the true and loving God.
Meditation happens when we let go of centering on ourselves and open ourselves to the ever-present loving God. Meditation is not so much something that we do as it is quieting ourselves to be able to hear God speaking. Because we live in a world of virtual reality it takes a while to center ourselves so as to hear the real communication of God. Jesus teaches us that God is our loving parent and is constantly involved with each one of us. Growing in that awareness is the first step to meditation.
We can practice meditation in our daily lives
One practice of meditation is often called active contemplation, which is to read one of the Gospel narratives and to place yourself in the story. You might be a shepherd visiting the child Jesus in Bethlehem or one of the woman at the foot of the cross. You try to picture the event in your mind and to live the experience by using your five senses: taste, smell, sight, hearing, and touch. Try to truly live the moment and then listen and observe.What does Jesus say to you? How does he look at you? Does he embrace you? Do you feel the joy of knowing his love?
Be quiet and stay in the scene. Allow the Lord to speak to you.
Another way to meditate is to embrace your life experiences. Review your life each day and learn from the people and the experiences that were both pleasant and unpleasant. This practice will allow you to experience God who is present in our lives every day.
MEDITATION ALLOWS US TO EMBRACE OUR PAIN
Learning to embrace the hurts, pains, and sufferings as well as the joys, hopes, and experiences of love will bring you to a place where healing and new life can begin. Jesus often went off by himself to pray. He found strength to face the frustrations of daily life and the challenges of his ministry. When you learn to be at peace with yourself before God, as Jesus did, your life will be filled with meaning. There will still be great challenges and difficult moments, but your perspective and interpretation will change because the wounds from your heart will be healed.
When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray he said "Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen."
Taking time with each phrase of this prayer is a great way to enter into Christian meditation.
Looking for more ways to grow closer to God and continue your healing journey? Download our free eBook, Knowing Him: A Guide to Identifying and Removing False Images of God.