A good friend of mine gave me a book, Turning the Mind into an Ally by Sakyong Mipham. The book is about how to meditate and, the book is from a Buddhist point of view, it focuses on the technical aspects of meditation and the power of meditation. Meditation is a practice to train the mind and while most associate it with Hinduism or Buddhism, it is practiced in all religions. In Latin, meditation, is from the verb meditari, meaning “to think, contemplate, diverse, ponder.” In Hebrew, hágâ, is to sigh, murmur and to mediate. The Tibetan word, “Gom” means “to become familiar with.”
The first question many would ask is “why should I meditate?” The simple answer is the mind is like a muscle, it needs to be used to order to work. Meditation, just like exercise, takes discipline. The mind is constantly on a stream of thought, always moving, always fluctuating. According to Mipham, “a bewildered mind is like a wild horse. More we try to calm it, the more it runs away.” With practice and dedication, meditation can focus the mind and help push aside distraction in order to have clear thought and make rational decisions. Meditation is a very personal journey. It causes us to slow down and look at the patterns in our lives. With meditation, we can see our weak points to work on and strengthen our positive ones. Meditation can be a stress reliever as well. As you take time to breathe deep and focus on something or nothing, you can fully relax.
As a Christian, I learn to follow Christ by mediating on His Word by reading, studying and thinking. Also through prayer. I know that many Christians would speak against anything which originates outside the Bible (like yoga but that’s another post). Many Christian fail to realize that God tells us to mediate. To mediate on His Word, on His Creation, etc. Many verses in the Psalm talk about mediating on the wonderful works of God. In Psalm 77:12 says “I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds.” When we mediate on God, it is like an altar offering to Him. Psalm 19.14 says “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” For me, I can sit in a quiet place and ask God to reveal to me something about a verse I’m thinking about or answer to a prayer. Sometimes I can get a clear response to whatever I am be feeling or thinking about and other times I don’t. The main point is a quiet place to listen for God.
Also, I find that writing is a form of meditation too. I sit down at the computer with my notes and a plan. I can be so focused that I lose track of time and place myself away from whatever may be going on around me. I get lost in whatever it may be that I am writing or even in my research. I also like to go to a quiet park and listen to the sounds of nature and write in my notebook. To let the stream of consciousness flow to the page. Sometimes I have great thoughts which lead to future blog posts or short stories. Other times, they are thoughts I want to keep to myself. However, regardless where I am, when I’m finished, I am relaxed, calm, focused. I feel great relief and energy.
In conclusion, meditation doesn’t have to be sitting in a certain position with controlled breathing or empty thoughts, although it can be. I found that meditation is a form of relaxation in order to relieve stress and refocus the mind, it can be anything an individual finds that will accomplish those two aspects. Meditation can be anything that helps you focus your mind and be able to hone in a certain thoughts in order block out any distractions or intruding thoughts that could wreak havoc on our lives. I recommend everyone do some form of meditation or relaxation as a stress reliever, re-focusing tool to help deal with the craziness that comes with life.