Friday, June 6, 2008

Thoughts on Meditation

This post continues the series on Richard Foster's Celebration of Discipline.
Part 1 of this series "Disciplines Intro" was posted on Monday, June 2nd.

Our desire to meditate comes from a desire to have a relationship with God. This explains the fact that we are often so dissatisfied with all that we've accomplished in this world- if we don't have a relationship with God, part of us knows something is missing. However, like many things we desire, we want to acquire it in the easiest possible way. See Israel not wanting God to speak to them, instead they send Moses up the mountain, and then ask Moses to shield his face. Then Israel wants a king, a leader to tell them God's plan and carry it out for them. We're not much different today. Today, we look to our pastors and leaders to do all the meditating for us. We often neglect reading scriptures, praying, reflecting on God...and settle for our weekly dose on Sundays. Why? Because it is the easiest way. It doesn't require us to change. But if we actively seek God and meditate on God's will, we would have to change.

Here are some thoughts on meditation, many of these are Foster's thoughts that I've summarized:
1- Meditation is not meant to be some mystical experience in search of finding a euphoric state. Instead, Christian meditation is meant to be a time to consciously try to connect with God by
pausing from our every day life.
2- Meditation is not difficult, and not reserved for "experts". Any that desire to meditate can do so.
3- Meditation should be a part of every day. Making it a point to have some time with God each day can lead to better meditation.
4- It cannot be limited or scheduled for a specific time. Realize that you may need to meditat for more than two minutes a day...
On this, Foster writes, "If we are constantly being swept off our feet with frantic activity, we will be unable to be attentive at the moment of inward silence." (Foster page 27)
By this, Foster means- If you've determined that you have five minutes for your time with God before your next activity, you're probably not going to be able to focus on God...your mind will already be on the next thing to do.
Only you can determine the best way for you to meditate, but Foster offers a few tips:
1-find a designated place- away from phones, tvs, gadgets...preferably at a place with nice scenery.
2-position yourself in a way that is conducive to meditating...a posture of receptiveness that isnt' uncomfortable.
3-take time to unwind... this may be the most difficult thing for us to do. Our lives are often so busy, that we forget how to be still. Our lives and minds are like an automobile, to stop down we have to take our foot off the accelerator, and then permit the car to slow to a halt, or take a more active role and press the brake.

"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." Psalm 46:10 (NIV) (bold added)

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