Going into this Year with the Disciplines project, there were two spiritual disciplines that intimidated me most, one of which was meditation. I confess: I’d been avoiding it. I had this idea that meditation was a heavy, solemn thing, as I’m sure sometimes it is and should be. But it really didn’t feel that way. On the contrary, it felt freeing and uplifting. Maybe God was being especially sweet and gracious to me during my first month with this blog, giving me that extra little nudge. I was so happy and surprised to be relieved of any pressure to conjure up some grand spiritual revelation or experience. Instead, God reminded me of the beauty, simplicity, and everyday practicality of meditation. The ideas of tending to my spiritual garden and tasting spiritual honey really sunk in for me, and what I had thought would be a chore felt like a luxury. I can only hope that this next month carries with it the same sort of romance; it is February, after all!
Before we move on to prayer (the other discipline that I have issues with), I wanted to share some last tid-bits that could be helpful to you on your personal journey with the art of meditation.
Here are a few other quotes from the chapter that I love:
“Meditation is a more passive discipline. It is characterized more by reflecting than by studying, more by listening than by thinking, more by releasing than by grabbing. With the discipline of meditation we are not so much acting as we are opening ourselves to be acted upon.” (Study Guide)
“The meditation of scripture centers on internalizing and personalizing the passage. The written word becomes a living word addressed to you. Take a single event like the resurrection, or a parable, or a few verses, or even a single word and allow it to take root in you. Seek to live the experience…apply all [the] senses… Smell the sea, hear the lap of water along the shore. See the crowd. Feel the sun on your head and the hunger in your stomach. Taste the salt in the air. Touch the hem of His garment.” (26)
“Mediation is not a single act… It is a way of life. You will be constantly learning and growing as you plumb the inner depths.” (29)
Finally, some other helpful resources/quotes on the subject:
A Short and Very Easy Method of Prayer, by Madame Guyon
(Particularly Chapter 2 – The First Degree of Prayer: Meditation)
Warm Yourself at the Fires of Meditation, by David Mathis.
The Practice of the Presence of God, by Brother Lawrence
Meditation – What It Is, by Tim Keller (audio message)
“Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of mockers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.”
Union with Thee, by Madame Guyon
“Here sweetly forgetting and wholly forgot
by the world and its turbulent throng
the birds and the streams lend me many a note
that aids meditation and song…
…Here let me, though fix’d in a desert, be free,
a little one, whom they despise.
Though lost to the world, if in union with thee,
I am holy, and happy, and wise.”
If you have been reading along this past month, I want to say thank you!! I hope that this first of the 12 spiritual disciplines has blessed you, and will continue to make it’s way into your everyday life.
Next, we embark upon our new subject: prayer!