Meditation Is Neither Complicated Nor Exotic

Ah, those New Age people. Always trying to make things complicated or exotic. Bookstore shelves are no longer filled with computer and business books. Now they are filled with New Age books.

If you are around my age, you may remember that the Beatles traveled to India, met the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (making him famous along the way), and popularized meditation. Allen Ginsberg, the Beat poet, was interviewed in a magazine in the mid-60s and talked about meditation as if it were some exotic being that only the adept could gain access to.

Let me debunk that idea.

You, too, can begin meditating today. Right now. It’s healthy. It will clear your mind. It will help you focus. And, yes, it may help you experience God. I have studied Transcendental Meditation and Zen. But did you know that there is a rich Christian tradition of meditation? Well, there is.

I like to begin every day with silence and meditation. I’ve been meditating for at least 45 years. I know how it changes your personality. And, yes, I’ve had God experiences. That’s the bonus, not the everyday experience.

The real benefit is to slow your thought processes and your body rhythms. This latter point is actually beneficial for such things as high blood pressure and mild anxiety. As you practice over time, you’ll notice that you become less anxious and agitated. Your focus increases. You can approach situations calmly. As you center, you will be more aware of your body–where you hold tension, where you feel relaxed.

As you become still and slow your mind, then you are able to receive those whispers, nudgings, shouts from God. Ancient wisdom traditions teach the value of becoming empty in order to be able to filled with the right stuff.

You don’t have to sit cross-legged on a prayer pillow with your forefinger and thumb connected in a circle such as you see in pictures. Although you can. Or, you can sit in your favorite chair, preferably not a soft one. After all, the goal is not to go to sleep! You can actually lie on your back on a firm surface such as the floor (called corpse pose in Yoga).

Close your eyes. Check your body to release any tension you may be holding especially in your shoulders, the back of your neck, or other places. Then just focus on your breathing. There are “chants” or “mantras” you can say. These are merely designed to help you focus. I like the sound of God. Some Christian meditators use love, spirit, Jesus. You get the picture. Or you can simply say a vowel such as o, or ah, or a, or oooh (u).

Just do it 10-15 minutes. After a while you may want to mediate longer. But just a few minutes a couple of times a day will work.

Then just be open to the Spirit.


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