Monday, September 20, 2010

The Discipline of Scriptual Meditation Part 3

Adapted from the book 'Celebration of Discipline - The Path to Spiritual Growth' by Richard Foster 2008

"Sitting I am most at rest, and my heart most upward." Richard Rolle
In preparing to meditate, it is important to set time aside each day even 5 or 10 minutes to begin with. Those who are proficient in the discipline are able to meditate anywhere and at any time. Regardless, it is important to remember that it is not a religious act but more like on-going contemplative prayer. In 1 Thess 5:17, Paul encourages us to 'pray without ceasing.' Thus our aim is to learn to develop this skill until it becomes a natural way of living life.
Some tips to help you get started.
1. One of the many benefits of learning to meditate is that it has the capacity to set the tone for the whole day. It also helps us to achieve a sense of balance and peace even when things get busy. This is referred to as 'holy leisure.' To this end it is beneficial that meditation occurs in the early morning in particular as well as at various intervals during the day if desired.
2. Find a place which is comfortable, peaceful (turn the phone off!) and which has a pleasing view.
3. Our outward posture often reveals our inward state e.g. tension. So concentrate on dropping the shoulders, deep, even breathing, stretching the toes and fingers and relaxing the entire body...and avoid vigorous chewing of gum!
4. Position yourself in the most comfortable position and least distracting position and place your open palms on the knees to receive from Him.
5. Close your eyes. Focus on one thing in particular. For example the Lord Himself, a flower, a tree etc. Begin to center all the attention of the body, mind, emotions and inner man onto that object of your focus until "the glory of God in the face of Christ" emerges. (2 Cor 4:6)
6. Allow the Holy Spirit to bring His Word to you and let your mind and emotions dwell on these. As you concentrate in this way, you will begin to internalise scripture in a wonderfully personal way. Try to avoid analysing and dissecting His words to you and just simply and humbly receive it like Mary did in Luke 2:51. The most important thing is not to rush but be still before God.
7. Another method of meditating is taking a verse of your choosing and then bring all of the senses to it-smell, taste, sight, hearing and touch. Experience the verse so it takes root in your inner man and in your emotions. Be an active participant in the verse you have chosen. Don't be afraid to use your imagination eg playing the part of one of the apostles or those whose life Jesus touched in a special way. Let it become your own reality.
For some, taking time out in this way is a sacrifice. However it is essential that as believers, we recreate the silences and return to the deeper place of contemplation. Our adversary would have us continue to be too busy. (It has been quoted that 'Hurry is not of the devil, it is the devil.' Carl Jung.) As you practice the skill of meditation daily, you will notice the blessings of His nearness in a new and more intimate way. Learn to activate your being through meditation until the entire Word becomes an autobiography of you.

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