Thursday, August 7, 2014

Day 219- A Meditative First

A few days ago I was reading a blog by this guy that is pretty unusual and kind of interesting in an odd way. In his blog, he mentioned that meditating has helped him to keep his focus and concentration on what's really important to him.  He wrote that he had downloaded an app that had really helped him in this area of his life. I've read a number of studies that say meditating is good for your mental health, helps concentration, and even improves compassion.  So, I decided the year of "firsts" was a good time to try it out. I downloaded the app the guy mentioned and tried a guided meditation for my "first" today. OK, in the interest of being honest, I tried this yesterday and did it again today.  Today, I drove to La. to see my family and did not have much of a chance for a "first." I guess I could say I did this 2 days in a row for my "first" since I've never done that before either. Anyway, this is new.

It was little weird.  As I expected, the voice on the app that led the meditation was very calming and soothing. He also had something of a British or Australian accent. That would be my guess; Laura is much better at guessing accents.  I think that's probably a better voice to try to meditate with than a redneck voice.  The app had a 10 minute session for the first two days.  After a week or so this particular app starts charging you for using it. I am not a prophet, but I predict with a fair amount of assurance that will be the end of my meditating with this app if not before.

It was kind of cool.  It is quite relaxing to sit quietly and listen to a soothing voice telling you to relax and breathe deep.  It was not anything weird or cultic; just some suggestions for relaxing, breathing deeply, and paying attention to your body and breath.  After 10 minutes or so, I did feel more relaxed.  I felt more at peace.  This lasted for about 5 more minutes or so and then the pace of the day picked up.  The studies I've read say this is healthy for your brain. I'm not sure I'll continue this, but it was relaxing for a day or two.

Me meditating (or taking a silly selfie)

Deeper meditation
 not me

still not me

I thought about Joshua 1:8 today as I thought about meditation. That verse says, " Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful." What many people try to do when they meditate is empty the mind. Some try to calm the mind.  Christian meditation is different. When a follower of Jesus meditates, he/she is to try to fill the mind with God's word.  We are to try to take God's word and turn it over and over in our mind and think abut what it means.  We are to seek to understand what that word means for me today.  It is helpful to emphasize different words in a verse to see if that helps you get at the meaning God has for you in that verse.  Sometimes saying the verse out loud a few times or reading it in several different translations is helpful.  It is usually a very good idea to the read several verses before and after the verse you are meditating on to help you get a clearer picture of what God is saying.  If you have a Bible dictionary, looking up what some of the words in that verse mean can be enlightening.

So, whether you need to calm or relax, we all need to fill our minds with God's word.  I think emptying my mind is what has gotten me into trouble in the past...

Thinking on the abundant life

3 things I thank God for today
1. The ability to think
2. Bible dictionaries
3. Bible commentaries

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