Category Archives: Meditation
Nothing is my life is as important as the time I spend with God. Does that mean I make it a top priority? No. I’m getting better but hours sometimes go by with not one of my thoughts reaching out to the Fountain of Life. I suffer for these lapses. I have to make my seeking into habits before each is automatic. One of my latest ones is to ask for the gift of gratitude before I get out of bed. If I don’t start there and then, hours can go by. Today i am including others’ thoughts about our mediation time and how we spend it.
1. From Cheri (Glass House Ministries): “All or Nothing: Don’t Settle for Twinkies”:
Ideally, I like to have my mornings uninterrupted, my time with God unhindered. In a perfect world, I can get up at my leisure, have my coffee, and spend a good hour or more with the Lord. I read the Word. I write in my journal. I pray. I feel grounded. But it’s not a perfect world and life seldom plays out that way. I treasure the times that it does. And since returning to the workforce a year and a half ago, it’s definitely a rare occasion.
So what’s the solution? Skip my time with God … or learn to squeeze it into the time I have available? The answer is obvious; I know from experience, the day goes better when I start it with Him … even if we don’t get as much time together as I’d like. It’s the difference between skipping breakfast altogether, or choosing to eat a quick, healthy bowl of oatmeal on those days I don’t have time to cook bacon and eggs.
But the learning curve has been a challenge for me. I’ve struggled with this personality quirk all my life. The sad truth is that sometimes I settle for Twinkies. Twinkies are sugary fluff that provide no nutritional value, much like all my personal “wisdom” and planning apart from God (when I just don’t have enough time to squeeze Him into my day or into my plans), while a wiser choice can provide the substance that nourishes my body for growth and service, like the Holy Spirit can equip my spirit for what lies ahead in the day to come.
Getting my quiet time with God isn’t the only thing that is a challenge with my type of personality. I find that when I have an approaching event or engagement, I expend tons of energy toward that end, like life will be over the morning after. And when that day comes … the morning after … I find myself bobbing on the Lost Sea. What now? I don’t have that all-consuming deadline hanging over my head, and I’m at a loss as to what to do. Depression comes knocking. I question my purpose in life. Until the next event or deadline comes along ..
2. From Grace (Letting Go-Finding Hope through Al-Anon): “Spiritual Warfare-Step Three”:
I know I am not the only one to have this experience. In my spiritual quest I have read many books by many authors following different spiritual paths experiencing same thing. Just before a breakthrough something pushes them down and then it passes.
What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger. I think that your mind resist progress. It is so comfortable to live with what is familiar even if that is the pain of your own story. A rut dug over time going round and round is easier that doing what needs to be done climbing out. What is out there might not be better than the rut and truthfully for a time it isn’t. Growth is uncomfortable for a time until the new rut is well established.
Sitting in meditation with the sadness and frustration going on in my right life now I realized I have reached that place again. I am climbing out of the rut and it is uncomfortable and lonely. I am being asked to question my own thinking and the way I have been approaching my life. This is really is hard and a blow to my ego.
In the darkness I asked God to help. The third step came to my mind instantly. Made a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God as I understand him. Really is it that simple? I heard was do nothing. Let go and so I back to the theme of this blog. God doesn’t really need my help and he would prefer if in the very least I would just stay out of his way.
3. From Annie (Just for today): “Happiness”:
Fred Luskin, instructor of the Stanford happiness class, said that the simplest definition of happiness is “wanting what you have.” Conversely, the simplest definition of stress is “wanting something to be different.”
Below are five techniques Luskin teaches for reducing stress and increasing happiness.
– Keep a daily gratitude journal, listing items for which you feel grateful.
– Perform a meditation practice, or simply a few minutes of deep breathing and quiet reflection on something that made you happy. Consider what you can do to achieve that happiness again.
– Make a habit of sharing the highlights of your day with someone close to you.
– Practice forgiveness routinely.
– Construct a list of all activities and experiences that relax and rejuvenate you. Use items from this list to manage your daily stress.
The Unifying Spirit of Meditation–by Brad Shore:
If you answer YES to any of these questions, I hope you’ll read on.
- Are you preoccupied with the next item on your to-do list, rather than focused on the task at hand?
- Do you have trouble concentrating?
- Are you often uneasy or restless?
- Does your mind race a mile a minute?
- Do you feel as though there are never enough hours in the day?
If any of that sounds like you, you could get a lot out of meditation. I started meditating about ten years ago. At that time, I would have answered all five of those questions with an emphatic YES! Now, these difficulties bother me only occasionally and to a relatively slight degree.
Meditation is all about focus, about living in the moment. At its best, meditation is a physical, mental, and spiritual exercise, though many practitioners focus on only one or two dimensions. Meditation can be as simple as a focused breathing exercise. Some forms, such as certain types of contemplative prayer, can take a lifetime to master.
Meditation and Mortality: Practice and Parkinson’s–by Arthur Zajonc:
“The diagnosis came a few months ago; I had stage one Parkinson’s disease. The most prominent symptom was a persistent resting tremor in my right hand. I had been meditating for many years, and now I was experiencing firsthand the ways in which meditation and a chronic medical condition can intersect.”
“I started my meditation practice in my usual way with the cultivation of humility, reverence, and calm. I slowly opened and closed my unsettled hand in synchrony with my shallow breathing. The tremor in my right hand gradually slowed as my meditation deepened and my awareness widened. The movements of my body associated with Parkinson’s became smaller and ultimately stopped. The jitters that accompany me during the day had finally ceased, and I found a place of rest and ease. I welcomed the silent spacious calm. It seemed as if a whole day’s agitation slid from my body.”
“Then, taking up a line of poetry as the focus for a concentration practice, I noted that my hand began to tremor once again. Returning to spacious awareness, the tremor disappeared. I have noted the difference consistently over recent weeks. Concentration practices stimulate the tremor whereas a practice of deep, silent, open awareness calms it.”
Only the Buzz Words Change–by Sue:
“A wise person I know describes mindfulness this way: Imagine that you put a puppy in the middle of the room. What is it going to do? Is it going to sit still? No, it will run off to find something fun to do. So you have to keep putting the puppy back in the middle of the room. You may have to do this many many times before the puppy stays in the middle of the room. It may not stay there today, so you can try again tomorrow.”
“The puppy is everything that intrudes on your meditation. The list of things you need to pick up on your way home. The appointment you need to make later on. The possibilities for tonight’s dinner menu. The criticism of yourself for not being focused enough or not “doing meditation” correctly. Endless, endless intrusions upon simply resting in the present moment that is now.”