The French Philosopher, Michel de Montaigne is quoted as having once said “The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.” Never is this truer in our current, fast-paced society. Today, with so many demands, it takes conscious effort to take a moment and allow ourselves the time we need to explore who we truly are. Even when we do make time, many people are stuck on how to actually do this.
The practice of meditation has certainly been recognized as a key method that can help. The word meditation stems from meditatum a Latin term that means “to ponder”. Through the practice of meditation, we can seek to find a better connection with our body in everyday moments that we often let pass us by, and create stronger awareness for how our emotions influence our behaviour.
There is no doubt that meditation is a discipline that improves one’s ability to focus and concentrate. It has also been medically proven to reduce stress and alleviate some physical ailments. However, those practicing prayer gain these same physical benefits but also profit spiritually. While the aim of meditation includes longevity, happiness and peace of mind, the peril of such a self-expanding ego is instead of providing a pathway to greater humility and love.
This pathway is found in Christian prayer which purposefully seeks salvation and eternal life with God, which is Union with the father, son and Holy Spirit. This Prayer doesn’t try to achieve “self-realization” or “God realization’’; rather, it pursues the transcendent God who is active within us, and empowers us to unite our will with God’s.
How can one meditate
It is an axiomatic fact that while you meditate you are speaking with your own spirit. In that state of mind, you put certain questions to your Spirit answers: the light breaks forth and the reality is revealed. My first choice would be prayer, for we must quiet and focus our mind to open the dialogue with our Spirit. Clear focused intent, stating what we are seeking, is the first step. The way of mediation I would recommend is in many ways Universal, but also the most integral part of the Christian tradition of prayer. In this tradition, it is called the “prayer of the heart.”
In this way of meditation–praying in the heart, or what Jesus calls the “inner room,” we are not speaking to God or thinking about God or asking God for things, instead, it is being with God. (See Psalms 1:1-2)
Silence, stillness, simplicity are the elements of meditation; Silence means letting go of thoughts. Stillness means letting go of desire. Simplicity means letting go of self-analysis.
Meditating is a practice that may take some time to develop. Be patient, when you give up, start again. You will find that a weekly meditation group and a connection with a community may help you develop this discipline. It is a discipline rather than a technique. John Main said that “meditation verifies the truths of your faith in your own experience.”
Biblical meditation involves taking a phrase, verse or passage or any Spiritual reflection and thinking carefully about it in “silence”, pondering, and letting the Holy Spirit slowly make it alive within you.
The benefits of Meditation
Psalm 119 speaks over and over again about the value of God’s word and the importance of meditation. Meditation on the Scriptures will cause us to understand something of the mind and heart of God. Meditation changes us deeply, freeing us from negative thinking because we are dwelling on the positive truth of Scripture. Meditation should always result in a response to God, whether it is repentance, thanksgiving, worship, obedience, or a change in attitude.
By Sem. Robert Bigabwarugaba
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