What is Meditation?
Meditation is a practice where you train your mind. In order to change your mind, you must train your mind! You can train your mind to cancel negative thinking and replace it with positive thinking. You can meditate to realize some benefit, such as relaxation, stress reduction, healing, or strengthening your relationship with God. Or for developing certain qualities such as love, patience, generosity, and forgiveness. Meditation can help you change your mind from focusing on your negative past or worrying about the future.
Secular meditation suggests focusing on breathing, visualizations, mantras or meditation music. This sets the stage to calm your mind. Christian meditation can use these tools as well. Meditation can also be used to access inner wisdom and insight from God. It is also a powerful tool for accessing your creativity, your inner wisdom, and developing your connection to the Holy Spirit (often called intuition).
The Bible puts a high value on meditation (1 Timothy 4:15). Meditation encourages purposeful thinking on wholesome topics, such as God’s qualities, standards, and creations. “I meditate on all your activity; I eagerly ponder over the work of your hands,” prayed a man of God in Psalm 143:5. He also said: “I remember you while upon my bed; I meditate on you during the watches of the night” (Psalm 63:6). Mary, Jesus’ mother “pondered” all the events leading up to Jesus’ birth and “treasured them in her heart.”
Wholesome meditation gives us inner depth, quiet reserve, peace of mind and moral strength—all of which add insight and understanding to our thought life, speech and behavior (Proverbs 16:23). Such meditation contributes to a happy and rewarding life. Concerning the person who regularly meditates on God, Psalm 1:3 states: “He will be like a tree planted by streams of water, a tree that produces fruit in its season, the foliage of which does not wither. And everything he does will succeed.”
Christian people have resisted meditation. They think it’s too weird. Or they believe it is evil or akin to seeking spirits. There are many different forms of meditation that have been developed over thousands of years in many diverse cultures. Meditation has worked for me and I recommend it to focus on good, visualize success, change your mind and appreciate all God has done for you. Your mantra should be a scripture or scriptural affirmation. Mantra is not a bad word. Lyrics to Christian songs, prayers, scriptures are all mantras.
Four Steps to Meditation,
In general, through meditation, you can do many things better, reduce stress throughout the day, relieve anxiety, and sleep better. It can help create longevity for a better life, build intuition, and discover your higher purpose. Some of the spiritual benefits of meditation include, greater awareness of the world around you and a deep connection to yourself, your purpose, and God through His Holy Spirit. Meditation can be a guide to changing your mind for the better. As you focus on one thing, worries drop away and your thinking shifts to the better.
1. Prepare and Pray- Preparation is the most important step in meditation. Select a quite place, a good time and a comfortable position. Any position will work, be comfortable, sit or lye down, hands clasped, face down or finger and thumb touching are fine. It doesn’t matter. Play soft music without lyrics or play a meditation tape. This can also assist as a time keeper. You might start with 10 minutes and go to 20. Do not meditate on a full stomach because fullness and digestion can be a distraction. Music with lyrics are distracting too. Prepare your mind by reading a bible passage or devotional, pray for insight, wisdom and a deeper relationship with God. Pray for answers and help. Close your eyes, inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth slowly three times, imagine the Holy Spirit flowing through you as a white light. Slow your breathing and focus on God.
2. Repeat and Remember- Focus on one thought; an affirmation or scripture that stuck with you during preparation. Repeat it over and over. When I was recovering from cancer I said, “I am a strong mountain.” This is a scripturally based affirmation. Maybe you will say, ” I am better and better everyday” or ” I am loved”. Or maybe your mantra will be a simple prayer, “Lord, I open my heart to you. Come sit in my heart!” Maybe it will be a song lyric. You will know based on your preparation. If you open your eyes, fix them on one point or object in the room, maybe a cross or candle. Remember God’s goodness. I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands (Psalm 143:5).
3. Receive and Understand- After a few minutes of repetition, gently shift your mind to receive. Stop speaking; get quiet. Separate your hands and turn your palms face up. Now let your mind relax. Do not exert any conscious effort to try to think about anything or to stop thinking about something. Just set your mind free. Do not stop or block thoughts or images. Let them flow across your consciousness as if you were watching them float by on a stream. You are an observer, a witness not a participant. Remain relaxed and passive yet alert. You may see sounds and hear colors and shapes or have impressions without shape. Receive them without judgement. Make me understand the way of your precepts, and I will meditate on your wondrous works (Psalm 119:27). Seek to understand Gods ways.
4. Closure and Worship- Form your hands into fists. Imagine the Holy Spirit in the form of white light engulfing you; surrounding you. You are protected and at peace. Nothing outside of you can enter. It’s you and God’s Spirit alone. Imagine yourself healthy, wealthy and wise or achieving one of your goals. Imagine achieving your affirmation used earlier. Feel God’s love. Worship God, praise Him and thank him. It isn’t uncommon to feel physically warm at the end of a meditation session.
Learning to meditate takes practice. Once you finish each session, specific direction from the Holy Spirit will continue to come to you as a prompt or guide throughout your day. You will see things that have always been there with a new perspective. You’ll be inspired by new ideas and simple solutions to problems with appear. Keep practicing.