In the first two parts of this series, we began examining what kind of tools we could use to generate an awareness that will warn us when we’ve slipped back into the ways of the world – forgetting our path with God, and in the process, forgetting about God Himself. We know that the ways of the world are destructive. Indeed for many of us, it was the effects of that destruction that led us to the Lord in the first place.
Cultivating our awareness will prompt us to return to Him.
The first tool was exercising our free will to call on God for help and be willing to change our ways to maintain our connection with Him.
The second tool is God Himself. You’ve not been able to crawl out of the brainwashing you received as a child and you need the help of Someone who transcends that experience. That only Someone is God because He knows every detail of what has happened to you, how you have suffered, and what you have done to perpetuate that suffering. Only He can deliver you from all of that…
The third tool for consideration:
We first encounter the word ‘meditate’ in the Bible just before Isaac encountered his bride-to-be (Rebekah):
And Isaac went out to meditate and bow down [in prayer] in the open country in the evening… Gn. 24:63 AMP
So we know that one of the Patriarchs meditated.
What else does the Bible say about meditation?
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” Josh. 1:8 ESV
…the LORD has set apart for Himself him who is godly…Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Ps. 4:3, 4. NKJV (ESV translation substitutes the word ‘meditation’ with ‘ponder’ and the AMP says ‘commune with.’)
…whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – mediate on these things. Phil. 4:8 NKJV
So meditation is not a foreign concept to God. We can see that we are commanded to contemplate the word of God continually for accurate action on our parts, which results in having a good life. Additionally, it is revealed to us that mediation is a tool for making the mind a ‘still place’ in order to be ready to commune with our Creator.
I purposely bring this up because there are many ‘Christians’ who claim that meditation is evil and opens up the mind for the devil to rush in and occupy the practitioner. Rubbish!
Mediation is a tool for slowing down the mind, creating an environment where we can watch the mind (and the voice in our head) at work – looking for the lies we’ve created so that we can unravel them. In other words, to ferret out the satanic template that was placed there so long ago, so that we can uproot it and the associated thoughts that bind us.
It’s also a very powerful tool to help us enter into the present moment, freeing us from the past to contemplate a different way of being. If we stop running from the present moment and ourselves, we can deconstruct our impressions of the past, and create a space where God can come and heal us from the associated self-inflicted meaningless meanings of hurt.
When we take care of our present moment, we can help bring fulfilling consecutive moments (i.e. our future).
Meditation helps you embrace whatever life if offering (whether or not it is attractive to you) and be happy in that moment – freeing you from the deluge of your opinions and the punishment you inflict upon yourself for not living up to them. In other words, it assists you in exorcising your false self so that your focus turns to what serves you, instead of what benefits the voice in your head.
The practice of meditation is for enlightenment, not for achieving some supernatural state. It’s for revealing the qualities of the spirit God placed within you – to get to know the real you. In a nutshell, it’s for unlearning what you think you know.
(This can be scary for those who are attached to their mask; yet ironically, it is this very camouflage that perpetuates their suffering.)
There are many methods of meditation. Let’s look at a simple one:
Get yourself a silent timer or one that plays a pleasant tone (like a bell or gong) at regular intervals. This sound is to remind you to stop chasing after your mind (which you’ll do repeatedly in the beginning) and return to just noticing what’s going on.
Find a quiet place, free from distractions – no music, media devices, or people.
(In the beginning you may squirm, as you will be uncomfortable being with yourself. So if you feel you absolutely need music, make it an instrumental so that you are not concentrating on the lyrics.)
Wear loose-fitting clothing and find a comfortable place to sit with your spine erect and eyes open. (There is a tendency to engage in your mental chatter when they’re closed.)
Be aware that the voice in your head will fight you every step of the way because you are threatening its very existence. It will use mental abuse, confusion, distraction and even sleep to stop you. In the beginning, it will be successful. Don’t judge yourself for giving in to the voice. You will gather strength and prevail with practice.
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THIS ENTIRE PROCESS IS TO BE KIND AND COMPASSIONATE WITH YOURSELF.
Set your timer for one minute. Add one minute every day until you are meditating one hour per day for the rest of your life.
(You will gain better focus, concentration and awareness, and lower blood pressure, peace, happiness, present-moment living the ability to stay on your God channel.)
Breathe slow and deep – in through the nose, out the mouth, relaxing after each exhalation.
(This makes you an active participant and acts as your point of focus. Focusing on breathing is the beginning of awareness. It is one of your God-connections. You can’t stop breathing. God breathes you. Breathing is a celebration of life.)
As you’re sitting still, staying with your breath, you may want to count your breaths to help you focus, or use guided imagery, e.g. ‘Breathing in, I accept life. Breathing out, I release love.’
Meditation looks easy but de-conditioning yourself is an arduous task. That voice in your head will declare war – flooding you with your fears and parading your strategies for hiding from life before you, to shame you for your weaknesses.
[We counterattack (with love) by not making excuses for what we’ve done. Instead, we just notice them, seeing what they are, looking for our motivations behind our doing them, and then discovering the false meanings behind those incitements. Then, we can watch our false and unworkable concepts we have about life and ourselves dissolve. We give ourselves love and compassion without condemnation, knowing that just like everybody else, we did our best to try to make our way in this world.]
The voice will tell you meditation is stupid and doesn’t work. It will also say that you’re stupid and this path is too hard. It will try to cajole you into returning to your distractions, addictions and / or isolation. The voice says your life is fine just the way it is (because it lives off of your suffering).
Then the criticisms come as it says you’re not ‘meditating right’ in order to keep you unconscious; and how better to do that than convincing you you’ve failed again. IT WANTS YOU DEAD IN THE HEAD.
But all you have to do is to lovingly and kindly acknowledge that you’ve been ‘thinking’ again, let the thoughts go, and take the next breath.
We are striving for a ‘mindless’ state, that is, one where we have successfully stripped away our false mind (the collection of our masks). Again, we don’t beat ourselves up for having them. Everyone has had the same brainwash. We can be rid of the voice by cutting off the power we’ve been giving it.
Everything that has worth (joy, peace and love) is foreign to our false mind. The sacred things live in the place where we are mindless – our spirit. When we gain awareness of the nature of our mind / spirit conflict, we can shift to our spirit side, end our reactionary state, and focus on our breath.
The quality of your life is entirely dependent upon the quality of the relationship you have with yourself and God.
Meditation is a way of bringing you into spiritual alignment. Doing so, you can see how you have been living your life and what that has cost you. Shedding that, you discover your highest and best path for reconnecting with God and for being at one with yourself.
If you’re putting off meditating, look to how you put off everything and commit to stepping over that.
If an old belief presents itself during mediation, ponder whether it’s true or not. If it’s a lie, let it go. Return to your breath until another one pops up, and then rinse and repeat. You can’t have too much truth. Peace comes with truth. So, if you’re experiencing stress and resistance in your mediation, celebrate! You’re on the cusp of a good, healthy change. Never give up and acknowledge yourself for your efforts.
You’re not trying to get something. You’re learning how to live in the present moment. Relax and let all your thoughts come, see them for what they are, and let them go. Instead of being afraid of what you might find, be curious. Your thoughts are not you; they are illusions.
If you suddenly quit meditating because you come up against something you think you can’t handle, don’t judge yourself. Simple recommit. Each time you meditate, try to step further into those thoughts and emotions that frighten you. With every crescendo, take a deep breath and look at the meanings you’ve attached to the thoughts and to your reactionary body sensations. Discover what made you think they were true and let them die when you see they have no healthy purpose.
If you sit still with fear, it will dissipate. If you find yourself squirming, you are on the verge of discovering another way you resist suffering. If you feel you are reaching a ‘breaking point,’ realize this process is not a punishment. Instead, you are on the edge of a life-transforming revelation. When you can face that fear and let it wash over you instead of running, your struggle will be over.
(You see, resistance is a force – showing up as confusion, self-criticism, self-sabotage, perfectionism, blaming, envy, busyness or procrastination. We usually meet resistance in life with more resistance (in the aforementioned forms) to try to neutralize it. If we fail, we judge ourselves. If we turn to meditation to discover our ‘resistance pattern,’ we’ll be able to drop it and open ourselves up to whatever happens next.)
During our practice, we do nothing but stay aware of our breath and notice our thoughts. In so doing, our minds lose their frenzied way of being while we are nurturing a growing field of clarity. We identify our habits and who we are trying to be when we try to hold our world together with unworkable beliefs and we discover the ways we punish ourselves when we think we fall short. Ultimately, we’ll be able to watch our negative patterns and let them unravel, having compassion for ourselves for thinking they would protect us.
There is nothing in your head that can really hurt you. It’s only the ignorance and denial you practice that brings pain. A thought is only an ephemeral wisp, and emotion is just a form of energy.
When a thought arises, instead of letting it hook you, (‘What if this thought is important?), question it: ‘Who would I be without this thought?’ Replace it with a thought that loves you.
Meditation is not about doing away with your thoughts. Your mind never ceases to think. But when you learn to stop giving them such importance, you’ll be able to let them go and return to the breath.
As we see the falsity of our thoughts, we lavish gobs of forgiveness upon ourselves for what we’ve ignorantly said or done to others or ourselves because of our belief in them. Then we stay on the hunt for other covert ways we’ve utilized and let them go as well.
Remember that you must implement your revelations. When you shed the person you think you are, and remodel your inner space so that it only holds love, joy and peace, your outer world will be filled with the same.
When we become open to every present moment, we become part of the unfolding life where there is no suffering. (There will always be painful moments but we don’t have to suffer by making life itself, the events in it and ourselves wrong.)
Celebrate by giving up having to know what will happen next. Appreciate your gift of life and the gift of yourself, and spread the love. That’s what living in the kingdom of God is all about.
Next time, last tools.
Goodnight and God bless.