What Is Meditation?
Meditation is the conscious direction of one's attention to the inner self. You begin by relaxing your body and then turning your mind inward to the stillness, resting in the beautiful sense of your oneness with God.
Meditation may be guided, in which a leader speaks positive, uplifting words or intones sound. Meditators let their minds flow with the sound or words in quiet repose. Other meditations are not guided, focusing on a mantra or simply clearing thoughts.
What Are Some Suggested Steps to Creating a Meditation Practice?
- Try to select a regular time for your meditation.
- Sit upright in a comfortable chair or cushion, wearing comfortable clothing.
- Begin by concentrating on your breathing.
- When you are ready to turn your attention inward, shift your attention to your special phrase, such as "I AM.”
- Empty your mind of all thoughts except your special words. As thoughts come, observe them and allow them to pass through.
- Expect nothing. Don't worry about how you are doing.
- When finished, take time to savor the experience.
If you meditate and find yourself harassed by thoughts, feelings, and especially memories, don't despair. Taming the mind to listen means having to go through some retraining in the beginning.
As you keep your attention on your breath, the mind will quiet down and you will eventually experience that still, small voice within you.
How I Understand Meditation as a Practice
By Rev. John Beerman
There are many descriptions for the practice of meditation, yet they all seem to agree it is vital to begin such a practice if you are interested in spiritual growth.
Just as plants and flowers need sunshine, nutrients, and water to grow, meditation and silence are the fertile soil and water for spiritual growth. Spirit is the sunshine, and we access Spirit by establishing a daily time for meditation and silence.
Meditation is quiet thought, reflection, or contemplation. You can find reams of books and online sources to learn about the many different methods of meditation. Just be aware that no one meditates perfectly; we all sometimes have “monkey mind,” those busy thoughts that distract us.
The Silence an even deeper state where thought ceases and oneness with the Divine is experienced. The Bible calls it a prayer closet or the secret place of the Most High.
This is where we might hear the still, small voice of God.
There is no shortcut to spending time in the Silence. The mind (ego thoughts) may try to divert you from the Silence, but eventually the mind succumbs to the radiant power of Spirit and takes its natural place as servant.
Like a well-tended garden, time in meditation and the Silence yields a powerful crop that will nourish you for a lifetime. If you eat from the fruits of your meditation practice, you will grow strong and be able to withstand the rigorous storms in life.
With practice, you will find peace and hope where perhaps there was none.